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Whale Tooth Earrings and Gold Plates: Ancient Tomb Unearthed in Panama Filled with Artifacts, Sacrificial Offerings

Golden Treasures and Rituals Found in 1,200-Year-Old Tomb in Panama
Source: Ministry of Culture of Panama

Panamanian archaeologists recently uncovered a 1,200-year-old tomb filled with golden treasures and victims of human sacrifice.

Mar. 14 2024, Published 1:03 p.m. ET

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Archaeologists in Panama have made a remarkable discovery, unearthing a tomb dating back 1,200 years.

This tomb, brimming with golden artifacts and poignant evidence of human sacrifice, sheds light on ancient Panamanian rituals and societal structures.

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The Ministry of Culture of Panama announced the significant find is situated in the country's Coclé Province. The tomb stands as a testament to a bygone era, constructed and devoted to a noble figure during the period spanning 750 AD to 800 AD.

The tomb's location within the El Caño Archaeological Park adds to its historical significance.

Among the treasures discovered within this ancient resting place were an array of golden artifacts, including circular gold plates and ornate belts crafted from spherical gold beads.

Gold-covered earrings fashioned from sperm whale teeth, as well as earrings resembling crocodiles and human figures, were also uncovered. Additionally, archaeologists found four bracelets, two bells, bone flutes, and garments adorned with canine teeth — a testament to the craftsmanship and cultural practices of the time.

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Experts speculate that the tomb was dedicated to a prominent chief, presumed to have passed away in his thirties.

Dr. Julia Mayo, leading the archaeological endeavor, noted that the tomb was not solely a solitary resting place but also contained the remains of other individuals who seemingly accompanied the chief into the afterlife.

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This practice of including multiple individuals in burials was customary among high-status individuals in ancient Panamanian society, with companions believed to assist the deceased in their journey to the next realm.

Despite ongoing excavations, the exact number of individuals interred alongside the chief remains undetermined. However, the significance of this find cannot be overstated.

MiCultura emphasizes that this discovery offers insight into a unique burial practice characterized by simultaneous interments, highlighting the complexity and depth of ancient Panamanian rituals and beliefs.


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