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Jane Buikstra also revealed some important new findings from the analysis of the strontium isotopes in the Hunal remains. There is a unique signature left in the bones from drinking the groundwater at a given location. The ratio of strontium isotopes at Copán is different from Tikal or Teotihuacan or elsewhere (although some widely separated locations coincidentally leave the same signature). Furthermore, the incisors and premolars that are forming underneath the "baby teeth" give a signature for the first years of life, while the second and third molars are forming later, and so give the signature of the individual's surroundings between the ages of approximately three and five. The bones, which are remodelled throughout life, only give the signature of the last five years or so of adult life. On this basis, we now know that the individual buried in Hunal spent his early childhood years in Tikal or nearby. (Map.)


The Great Plaza of Copán, viewed from Temple 11 over the Ballcourt. Photo: Joel Skidmore.