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Suicide, Sacrifice and Mutilations in Burials at Venado Beach, Panama

  • S. K. Lothrop (a1)

Venado Beach comprises a shore line facing the Pacific Ocean in the southwestern corner of the Panama Canal zone. The burials here discussed were found 100 to 200 yards from the high water mark in a band of refuse which extended across the mouth of the Mangopobre Valley. A total of 369 bodies have been recorded. Of these, 202 were excavated by the Peabody Museum of Harvard University in 1951, and 167 were unearthed by Neville A. Harte, who most generously has placed at my disposal his carefully kept field notes.

The skeletal material from Venado Beach, owing to unusual soil conditions, is better preserved than any other collection yet found in the wet tropics of the New World. When studied, it should prove of general interest. We are now concerned, however, with burial techniques rather than with the bones themselves or the funeral paraphernalia which accompanied them.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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