Gran Canaria mystery – level 3

12-05-2023 07:00

Archaeologists have discovered the skeletons of six young men, with hands tied and covered in stones, in a cliff-side cave on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.

The discovery raises questions about the violent practices that led to their deaths, which could predate the Spanish conquest of the archipelago off northwest Africa in the 15th century. The burials don’t fit with the traditional practice of burial on the island, suggesting very strong symbolic violence, said Veronica Alberto, head of the excavation. The absence of objects at the Caleta de Arriba site means that scientists will have to rely on radiocarbon dating tests on the bones to determine the period of the burials.

The characteristics of the archaeological site suggest that the bodies could be from after the Spanish conquest of the island, in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries, as well as potentially pre-conquest aboriginal burials.

Difficult words: predate (to exist at an earlier date), archipelago (a group of many islands), radiocarbon dating (a method of determining the age of an object).

You can watch the video news lower on this page.

How will the radiocarbon dating tests help scientists determine the period of the burials?


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