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  1. #1
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    A very interesting day here in Mexico

    A very interesting day here. A reminder that I live in a small village somewhere in Mexico which was once property of the Moctezuma family, and there are local legends of the treasure being buried here.

    Our builder was building a low wall behind the house to protect the house from rare torrential rains which have been known to penetrate the brick walls, to my wife's rage and horror. At the corner on the west end, yesterday he encountered a "cave". The dirt here is called something like tepetate, and is believed to be what in some locations is eventually turned into travertine marble. It is very hard, very high content of what equates to dust of marble, and the bank of the arroyo which divides the town in two pieces is nearly 20 feet high, and does not cave off like ordinary dirt, even over 50 or 100 years. Hard and very strong.

    The "cave" was a hollow place, about a foot below our walkway. About 5 feet long, 1.5 feet wide, and a foot deep.

    We had some discussion. I told them if they wanted to explore it today, they would get paid like always. They liked that idea a lot.

    So, after some more work on the wall, they started digging. What I wanted to know, is that cave natural, or the result of soil compacting after man made digging projects. In other words, would they encounter tepetate as they dug, or soft black dirt.

    Well, it is man-made, in a place with no known reason to dig like that. The hard dirt, tepetate, has a hole in it, filled with black dirt. They dug down 1.90 meters, around six feet, and it was black dirt all the way, approximately 60 cm. wide. At the same time, the black dirt ran off at 250 degrees, no idea how far, but also 60 cm wide.

    Someone dug down there. It was still black dirt at 1.90 meters depth, and when he said he wanted to stop, he took a large bar and rammed it down. It sank in hidden mud, to the depth of 2.50 meters. It rained heavily last night, so they think the mud was where the water stopped from the rain. Tepetate does not easily change to mud, so at some time in history, someone dug a narrow hole through the tepetate down to six feet deep. And, also off at an angle.

    They found charcoal from a wood fire, not much but some, starting at 1.2 meters, and found more at the 1.90 meter level. I put it in a plastic bag with a label. I wonder how much it costs for carbon dating of charcoal

    There weren't too many reasons for people in times past to dig holes. Of course, they dug wells. But, in this case, there were plenty of springs on this mountain side, including a major one a hundred yards away in the old Moctezuma house. Several up the hill not far, and a major spring that even with deep wells runs at least slowly all year, sufficient to run water down a ditch to this location before deep wells. So, with a sparse population, there would have been no need to dig a well in this location.

    Second, of course for burial purposes.

    And, of course to bury gold.

    Today, of course, we dig for foundations of houses, or to quarry rocks, but there are no suitable rocks for quarrying here. And, none of these would involve a hole in tepatate 60 cm wide, and branching off a foot below the surface of the earth.

    I took pictures, and we agreed to continue with the wall. They wanted to fill the hole with rocks. I asked them to use sand from the sand pile, and they agreed. We also agreed someday when I feel rich, we will "dig a well" 1 X 1.5 meters, around 1.5 meters distance at 250 degrees from the hole, and see what is down there.

    The obvious most likely outcome is nothing found. Second most likely, some sort of cadaver. Still, hope springs eternal in the heart of man.

    We talked while they dug. The son, still living, of the owner now deceased, who sold this land to my BIL, said when he was a boy, they saw a rabbit enter a hole, and decided to dig down. He alleges they found a tunnel down there. He is another person with a drinking problem at times. Still, drunks do not always lie.

    Also, I have mentioned that someone locally found an old body where he was digging for a house footing. These guys know the same people, and have the same memory problem, not remembering their faces or names.

    The true story was they were digging, and found not one, but six bodies down there. The teeth were like ivory. One of them is a grave-digger when his family and friends need that service. He has encountered many skulls in the cemetery, because when they bury another person in the same grave, they need to dig up the old one, and put the new one underneath, sometimes a very unpleasant job. He said teeth do not normally look like ivory. I have no opinion.

    The owner ordered them off the place, I suppose fewer witnesses? And, put all the bones and skulls in a paper cement bag, and buried it not far away. The skulls were adult size.

    They also claim a tunnel exits from the local church. It is believed to be old, because church records as digitalized by the LDS show a few records around 1609, but large quantities starting around 1620. After that, it is presumed burials would go in the church cemetery, which was obsoleted by Benito Juarez when he prohibited the church from controlling burials and weddings.

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  3. #2
    us
    Jul 2007
    NC
    540

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    That is interesting.

    I would guess that you ruled out it being a outhouse.

    It would be hard for me to fill in that hole without knowing.

  4. #3
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    Outhouse should have been on my list of elimination, thanks for reminder.

    However, until I was over 20, I lived on a farm with only an outhouse, and there was nothing of that appearance on this unknown thing.

    Also, I once helped the inventor of the Burkhead Safety Rack, excavate a very old outhouse hole, for the 18th Century bottles in it.

    I do not know what Aztecs did for outhouses. Interesting question.

    Sometimes harsh reality takes over. We were working on a wall, I guess you'd call it retaining wall, and these guys were getting paid by the hour. We do jobs like that when possible when my wife is gone, because she responds poorly to construction messes. Also, the hole was very cramped for digging. So, we agreed to wait until they were out of work, and I have a few extra bucks to throw at them. Then we will make a planned dig in the proper place. They estimate it will take at least a week, so now was not the time to dig further.

    Thanks for comment.

  5. #4
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    I also forgot to mention the need to be discreet. If anyone found out we were digging in a cave hidden in our backyard, the people within the 750 square mile area will be talking about it within hours. So, we needed to stop and get it covered up. When we dig again, we will say we are digging a well, and the guy with the forked stick said to dig there. Also, they will make it look like a well-digging.

  6. #5
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    10,207
    838 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    My friend, you are like me and a putty cat, curiosity will not let you stop until you know.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  7. #6
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    Good point. Or, the cost of further exploration becomes prohibitive. But, yes, I want to know what if anything is down there.

  8. #7
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    If you gross out easily, stop and do not read on.

    My builder, his 99 year old father-in-law died last night at 7:52 pm. My wife was there when he died. I went till around 11 o'clock, they have the overnight wakes here, but I bailed early, because of a dentist appointment a 4 hour round trip away today.

    I got home today from the city around 8 pm, or so, sleepy.

    At 8:30 he called me and told me to come to his house. He had more information on the teeth that looked like ivory, mentioned above.

    I went, and he opened a plastic bag, and showed me part of a skull, that part with the teeth on it. He is a volunteer grave digger. Here the family digs the grave and he is part of a very large extended family. He admits he needs "a cup" after digging up old body parts. But, if the body is not totally decomposed, sometimes he simply has to get drunk later. That happened a few months ago. The body was only 4 years old, and he couldn't get anyone to help him, it was so bad.

    The local cemetery is filled with bodies. Bodies on top of bodies, seriously. I have requested burial in the cemetery across the mountains, where cousins are buried because there are large areas still totally vacant. I call the cemetery in my village "a basket of bones."

    They try to put the new bodies under all old bodies and bones. Digging down in the family plot of his FIL, he went down over 6 feet. At over 6 feet, they gave up and he will be buried on top of an unknown quantity of older bones.

    He borrowed (it will be buried tomorrow with the other bones they dug up, they are in a bag at the grave waiting and will be put on top of the new coffin) that piece of skull to show me.

    He estimates it at around 1910, and the teeth are shiny like he described the ancient teeth in my posting above. He does not know whose bones they were, there were in fact a number of bodies down there.

    He said the older teeth are mostly like that, shiny enamel and like new.

    The new teeth of deceased people, in the last 20 or 30 years, are soft and tend to fall apart rather quickly after burial, no matter the age of the deceased. He didn't realize fully, perhaps until today, what I meant. The enamel on those teeth has been in the ground over 100 years estimated, and those teeth are still hard and shiny.

    He really isn't sure why. He said maybe the chemicals they are feeding the chickens on the chicken farms today, chicken is a major diet item today.

    When I mentioned lower calcium intake today, and higher consumption of pop today, he admitted that may be a factor as well. But, in years past, most teeth were shiny and hard, and in recent years, he said most are decomposed.

    So, those old teeth are simply normal teeth except in modern times. I thought I'd share this with you. I suspect not everyone gets to talk to a man who has been a volunteer grave digger for a very long time, and can actually show you what is down there.

    I chose not to take a picture of the teeth to avoid any problems for borrowing those teeth, though on second thought they are his extended family. This is Mexico, and as long as they go in the ground tomorrow, no one probably cares much. Still, better not to push things. On the other hand, if he gets angry and doesn't dig, the lazy men who let him do it will have to, I suppose, so they are unlikely to give him too hard a time.


  9. #8
    us
    Apr 2008
    1,015
    87 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    Well interesting piegrande... thank you. It is fun isn't it,when you wake up one day and realize you live in an area of great historical significance. A place that other people travel hundreds of thousands of kilometres to see.
    Don't believe everything you read on the internet - Abraham Lincoln


  10. #9
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    People do travel from all over the world to visit our area, but I cannot tell you why without identifying it. And, interestingly the locals have no idea people from all over the world come to that area. It is an area of interest to a certain scientific specialty, and I do mean from all over the world. The numbers are not great, but they do come. They must come.

    And it is not the historical issues, rather scientific.

  11. #10
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    10,207
    838 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    HI Piegrande: Remember, until recently, tortilla masa was prepared and ground the old fashioned way. High grade calcium with associated minerels and ingredients were avilable which are not in today's Masa..

    Tortillas prepared the old fashioned way in the sierras also are so much better tasting, especially the blue corn and native grass seeds ones - sigh, drool.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  12. #11
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    I see many women walking by the house in the early morning, with their large bucket of mash, taking it to be cooked rather than cooking it at home. But, there are plenty of women in my village who still make them by hand. Some make the mash and take it to a special place to be ground, then they take the ground mash home, and pat the tortillas out by hand.

    A cousin even made a special shed for his wife, so she could make her own tortillas. There is a stone on which she makes the fire, and heats them on a barrel top of metal.

    So, to some extent, the only unknown is the cal (quicklime) they use. I do not know if it is that much different or not.

    One of my historic sites is an oven to make cal. There is no way to know if it is pre-Cortes or post, or even modern. But, based on what is around it, I'd say it is very old. It is two or three miles from my house, not far from an ancient cemetery, known only to locals who excavated it in time of economic strife to buy food for their families with the antiquities they found. And, in 1620 the local church began to demand all were buried in the church cemetery.

  13. #12
    us
    Jun 2007
    Simi Valley California
    437
    1 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    Great thread and information. I just want to know what the travelers come to see.....

  14. #13
    mx
    May 2010
    539
    67 times

    Re: A very interesting day here in Mexico

    And, I would like to tell you. But, I made a decision not to out myself, at least not obviously so. And, if I told you exactly what they came to see, it would take a few seconds on Google to locate me.

    I will say all through this part of Mexico are many places of interest. Not to induce people to come great distances, with the exception of one place within a couple hours of interest to some doctoral candidates all over the world.

    We have pre-conquistador sites. Some of them are being used for doctoral theses world-wide, which really amazes me. But, I suppose the traditional places for those theses are becoming passe.

    There are paleontological sites. (Spelling). I own some ancient fossils myself, which is allowed as long as I don't take them out of the country. I think I posted the ancient fish rock.

    There is a place an hour or two away which allegedly has dinosaur tracks. I went there once with friends, but we had like 8 or 10 people, and they wanted five or ten dollars per person, and that was unthinkable in rural Mexico.

    In the other direction are what had been considered to be cow tracks embedded in the rocks. In modern times, experts claim they are camel tracks, in a place which was once below the ocean and is not nearly 6,000 feet above the ocean.

    Frankly, I do not see much to bring people any distance, except the paleontology folks who come for academic reasons.

 

 

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