The 1600-year-old skeleton of an upper-class woman whose skull was purposely deformed and teeth encrusted with mineral stones was found by archeologists near ancient Teotihuacan ruins of Mexico.
The woman was buried with 19 jars that were used as offerings when she passed away between the ages of 35 and 40, according to the National Anthropology and History Institute.
The institute said in a statement that her cranium had been elongated by being compressed in a “very extreme” manner, a technique commonly used in the southern part of Mesoamerica, not the central region where she was found.
Two pyrite stones, spherical in shape, were embedded in her upper front teeth. The nobles in the Maya areas of southern Mexico and Central America engaged in this activity.
As they were known to beautify teeth by encrusting them with valuable stones or by cutting notches and grooves into them, the Maya are regarded as the pioneers of aesthetic dentistry.
The beautiful stones, including jade, were adhered with a glue composed of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was combined with various chemicals and broken bones. Tiny holes were chiseled out of the teeth.
The dentists likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy because they knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside.
Liquid mercury was found in a tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan last year. This tunnel may have been an underworld river that led to a royal tomb or tombs.
The bones of the Teotihuacan kings, some of the most ruthless tyrants in pre-Hispanic history, have never been discovered.
Such a find would be significant since it would explain many of the enigmas surrounding this prehistoric civilisation.
The enigmatic pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Mexico City, thrived between the first and eighth centuries, after which its civilization vanished.
Its two majestic Sun and Moon pyramids are major tourist attractions.