Newfound treasures at an archeological dig in Panama have provided scientists with the best clues yet about an unnamed tribal culture that had thrived in the centuries just prior to the arrival of the Spaniards.
The most recent dig, in early 2011, uncovered a similarly adorned chief in a multilevel burial pit once sheltered by a wooden roof. Surrounding this golden chief are at least 25 carefully arranged bodies, making the assemblage the largest of the six El Caño burials revealed to date. … Among the corpses golden attire for a child, possibly the chief’s son: tiny gold plates, bracelets, earrings, and a necklace of semiprecious stones. At the bottom of the pit, the chief himself was supported by a sort of platform created from the tight arrangement of 15 bodies. Mayo believes those individuals could be war captives or slaves who were sacrificed or committed suicide.