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Maya Skulls Show Signs of Wooden-Club Warfare

Friday, March 28, 2014


Maya-Fracture-ArrowROCKHAMPTON, AUSTRALIA—Head injuries on Maya skulls are consistent with the use of spiked clubs, as depicted in Maya artwork, according to a study led by bioarchaeologist Stan Serafin of Central Queensland University. He examined 116 skulls from different periods of Maya history in 13 different sites from Mexico’s Northwest Yucatan. The team concluded that warfare could have decreased during the Classic period, but increased slightly in the Postclassic period, “which is to be expected since hard times tend to breed violence,” Serafin told CQUniNews. He thinks the wounds are more consistent with open combat between military units. “While some of these injuries may have been from arrows, a wooden club with protruding points would better account for their concentration in the left frontal and horizontal orientation in four out of five examples,” he added.