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Santa Isabel Iztapan (Mexico)

A Paleoindian Killing Site in Central Mexico



Santa Isabel Iztapan I and II are two important Paleoindian sites in the Valley of Mexico, near the ancient shores of Lake Texcoco, where the fossilized skeletons of seven mammoth were found in the mid 20th century in association with projectile points and obsidian blades. The site was dated through radiocarbon to ca. 7000 B.C.

Discovery of the Fossilized Mammoth

Fragments of a first animal bones and tusks were found in1950 during the excavation of a ditch for irrigation in the small town of Santa Isabel Iztapan, in the state of Mexico. These were buried under a think layer of green muck, more than 3 meter deep.

The mammoths, according to the archaeologists, were probably pursued by hunters until they reached the swampy shore of the lake Texcoco and then killed. The presence of cutting tools, such as obsidian blades, knife and scrapers represents a strong evidence that the animals were butchered in place.


This glossary entry is a part of the About.com guide to the Ancient Mesoamerica and the Dictionary of Archaeology.

>Aveleyra Arroyo, Luis and Manuel Maldonado-Koerdell, 1953, Association of Artifacts with Mammoth in the Valley of Mexico, American Antiquity, vol. 18 no. 4, pp 332-340

Manzanilla Linda and Leonardo Lopez Lujan (eds.), 2001 [1995], Historia Antigua de Mexico, Miguel Angel Porrúa, Mexico City.

Weaver, Muriel P., 1993, The Aztec, Maya and their Predecessor, Academic Press

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