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Headless man’s tomb found under Mayan torture mural

The body of a headless man has been unearthed in an ancient Mayan chamber which is adourned with paintings depicting various acts of torture.

Found under the Temple of Murals at the Maya site of Bonampak, the man was either a captive warrior who was sacrificed—perhaps one of the victims in the mural—or a relative of the city’s ruler, scientists speculate.

Whoever he was, “the place of the burial tells us that the person buried there was special,” said anthropologist Emiliano Gallaga Murrieta via e-mail.

At the time of the murals’ creation, about A.D. 790, Bonampak was a city of thousands. Today its most prominent vestige is a long-overgrown, partially excavated acropolis in the middle of a vast tropical rain forest in the southern state of Chiapas.

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