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Cinnabar powder on human bones and beads in Valencina, site of Copper Age Mercury abuse.	Source: Álvaro Fernández Flores/ Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

Copper Age Settlement Shows Evidence of Accidental Ritual Mercury Abuse

Getting high off toxic solvents and chemicals to induce mind-altering effects is a public health concern today. But dial back 5,000 years, in the Iberian Peninsula, and groups of women adorned in...
Temple of the Great Jaguar at Tikal in Guatemala, where high levels of mercury have been found. Source: IBRESTER / Adobe Stock

Meta-Study Shows Ancient Maya were at High Risk of Mercury Poisoning

The Maya Empire dominated large swaths of Mesoamerica for more than 3,000 years. But despite their impressive record of survival, the Maya civilization did not live completely in harmony with their...
The never seen before Mesoamerican mural minerals of cinnabar and hematite found in this early Teotihuacan mural. The distinctive reds on the left side of this image are especially noteworthy.            Source: Denisse Argote Espino / INAH

Mesoamerican Mural Minerals Reveal Secrets of Ancient City

In Mexico , researchers have for the first time ever discovered previously unknown Mesoamerican mural minerals. The mercury sulfate and iron oxide were found in wall paintings in one of the most...
These two Incan mummies were found with a toxic substance in their grave.

Dressed to Kill: The Vibrant Textiles Adorning these Incan Mummies Have a Lethal Secret

Scientists have encountered a toxic substance on textiles buried with two Incan mummies sacrificed in Chile. Since making the find, they’ve warned other researchers to be wary of handling any similar...