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Scientists Uncover Inca Children's Countdown To Sacrifice
Eureka Alert ^ | 10-1-2007 | Craig Brierley

Posted on 10/01/2007 3:43:47 PM PDT by blam

Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust

Scientists uncover Inca children's countdown to sacrifice

Hair samples from naturally preserved child mummies discovered at the world's highest archaeological site in the Andes have provided a startling insight into the lives of the children chosen for sacrifice. Researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust used DNA and stable isotope analysis to show how children as young as 6-years old were "fattened up" and taken on a pilgrimage to their death.

A team of scientists led by Dr Andrew Wilson at the University of Bradford analysed hair samples taken from the heads and from small accompanying bags of four mummies found in the Andes. These included the 15-year old "Llullaillaco Maiden" and the 7-year old "Llullaillaco Boy" whose frozen remains were found in 1999 at a shrine 25m from the summit of Mount Llullaillaco, a 6,739m volcano on the border of Argentina and Chile. The Maiden, described as a "perfect mummy" went on display for the first time last month in Salta, northwest Argentina.

Dr Wilson and colleagues studied DNA and stable light isotopes from the hair samples to offer insight into the lives of these children. Unlike samples of bone collagen and dental enamel, which give an average reading over time, hair growth allows scientists to capture a unique snapshot at different intervals over time, helping build up a picture of how the children were prepared for sacrifice over a period of months. The results are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

"By examining hair samples from these unfortunate children, a chilling story has started to emerge of how the children were 'fattened up' for sacrifice," says Dr Wilson, a Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology Fellow.

It is believed that sons and daughters of local rulers and local communities were chosen for sacrifice, possibly as a way for the ruling Incas to use fear to govern their people. Some girls, know as acllas, were selected from around the age of four and placed under the guardianship of priestesses; some would later be offered as wives to local nobles, others consecrated as priestesses and others offered as human sacrifices.

By analysing stable isotopes found in the hair samples, Dr Wilson and colleagues were able to see that for much of the time prior to sacrifice, the children were fed a diet of vegetables such as potato, suggesting that they came from a peasant background. Stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen from an individual's diet are deposited in their hair where they can remain unchanged over thousands of years.

However, in the twelve months prior to sacrifice, the isotopic evidence shows that the Maiden’s diet changed markedly to one that was enriched with plants such as maize, considered an "elite" food, and protein, likely to have come from charki (dried llama meat).

"Given the surprising change in their diets and the symbolic cutting of their hair, it appears that various events were staged in which the status of the children was raised" says Dr Wilson. "In effect, their countdown to sacrifice had begun some considerable time prior to death."

Changes in the isotopes in the hair sample in the final 3-4 months suggest that the children then began their pilgrimage to the mountains, likely from Cuzco, the Inca capital. Whilst scientists cannot be certain how the children died, it is believed that they were first given maize beer (chicha) and coca leaves, possibly to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness and also to inure them to their fate. This theory is supported by evidence of coca metabolites that the researchers found in the victims' hair, and in particularly high concentrations in the Maiden's.

"It looks to us as though the children were led up to the summit shrine in the culmination of a year-long rite, drugged and then left to succumb to exposure," says co-author Dr Timothy Taylor, also of the University of Bradford. "Although some may wish to view these grim deaths within the context of indigenous belief systems, we should not forget that the Inca were imperialists too, and the treatment of such peasant children may have served to instil fear and facilitate social control over remote mountain areas.”

Previous research has shown that Llullaillaco Boy appears to have met a particularly horrific end. His clothes were covered in vomit and diarrhoea, features indicative of a state of terror. The vomit was stained red by the hallucinogenic drug achiote, traces of which were also found in his stomach and faeces. However, his death was likely caused by suffocation, his body apparently having been crushed by his textile wrapping having been drawn so tight that his ribs were crushed and his pelvis dislocated.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: children; godsgravesglyphs; inca; mummy; sacrifice

1 posted on 10/01/2007 3:43:51 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

next they’ll be telling us what the people talked about the day before. a bit too bizarre for theinvisib1ehand, I’m afraid.


2 posted on 10/01/2007 3:48:18 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (life is like "a bad Saturday Night Live skit that is done in extremely bad taste.")
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To: blam
Sapa Inca approves of this article.
3 posted on 10/01/2007 3:49:10 PM PDT by kinoxi
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To: blam
Another of the cultures that my culture is no better than.

/s

4 posted on 10/01/2007 3:58:16 PM PDT by Steely Tom (I wasn't able to vote against Hitler, but I can vote NO on Hillary!)
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To: blam

More of those noble savages stories. Bloodthirsty, like the Aztecs... {shudder}


5 posted on 10/01/2007 4:01:53 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Global warming is to Revelations as the theory of evolution is to Genesis.)
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To: blam

Cruel Spaniards put a stop to these rustic traditions.


6 posted on 10/01/2007 4:03:15 PM PDT by 353FMG (Government is the opiate of the people.)
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To: blam; Steely Tom

Sick bastages. I’m glad that Inca “culture” is dead and gone, a horrifying relic of the Human Race’s barbarous past.

Of course, I hope that my grandkids can say the same about the sick bastages of the ROP, who have a different and no less gruesome means of child sacrifice and intimidation of the local population.


7 posted on 10/01/2007 4:05:07 PM PDT by Ancesthntr
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To: the invisib1e hand

Forensic anthropology/archaeology. Ain’t it great. Sure beat the digging I had to do on Indian villages and gravesites.

Hated pottery shards. No superglue to work with.


8 posted on 10/01/2007 4:08:04 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: blam

So Llullaillaco Maiden lloved llama meat? And I thought Welsh was tough...


9 posted on 10/01/2007 4:10:42 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: blam

there is no such thing as primitive cultures?


10 posted on 10/01/2007 4:19:35 PM PDT by spanalot
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To: blam

hallucinogenic drug achiote,
totally bs, achiote, is used in Latin cooking as a food colorant.


11 posted on 10/01/2007 4:44:03 PM PDT by pennboricua
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To: blam

Once the US becomes Azatlan, child sacrifice will be very “in”, though mostly for gringo children.


12 posted on 10/01/2007 4:44:12 PM PDT by stinkerpot65 (Global warming is a Marxist lie.)
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To: blam
"Although some may wish to view these grim deaths within the context of indigenous belief systems, we should not forget that the Inca were imperialists too..."

Aware of the horror of this reductio ad absurdum of multicultural relativism, he coaches any less savvy multicultural allies who would fall into a kneejerk defense. There is a loophole they can use to avoid the strength of the Judeo-Christian Western counterargument.

They were militaristic imperialists (like Bush) and therefore were bad. Not for murdering little 10-year-old girls.

13 posted on 10/01/2007 4:51:01 PM PDT by InMemoriam
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To: 353FMG
Cruel Spaniards put a stop to these rustic traditions.

Did you see Mel Gibson's film about the Aztecs? When the Spanish galleons show up in the final scene, you breathe a sigh of relief because you know Western civilization has arrived to end the blood craziness of the natives. I think this was Mel's unstated but very deliberate message.

14 posted on 10/01/2007 4:56:11 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: blam
children as young as 6-years old were "fattened up" and taken on a pilgrimage to their death.

Too bad this tranquil eden was spoiled by the intrusion of the European serpent ...

15 posted on 10/01/2007 5:21:07 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: blam
Achiote is not a hallucinogenic drug. It’s a very common spice used mostly as coloring (annato).

It is red, but no amount is going to get you high. I can get it at my local grocery store. The only search engine hits relating achiote to a hallucinogen are this article!

The earlier articles I read about the boy said that he’d been killed by having rocks packed around him, crushing him and rapidly sucking heat out of his body. You’d have to go a stretch to dislocate hips by tightening clothes.

I see problems with this article.

16 posted on 10/01/2007 5:28:42 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: blam

Helen Thomas
17 posted on 10/01/2007 6:00:13 PM PDT by AndrewB
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To: AndrewB

Bubba would hit that...


18 posted on 10/01/2007 6:07:51 PM PDT by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts...)
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To: DBrow
"I see problems with this article."

Ahem.

Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust

19 posted on 10/01/2007 6:46:30 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
The Maiden, described as a "perfect mummy" went on display for the first time last month in Salta, northwest Argentina.

"If I were single, I'd ask that mummy out. That's one good looking mummy."
— First Gentleman Wannabe Billy Jeff Clinton

20 posted on 10/01/2007 6:58:32 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: blam
multiculturally yours

It seems that every time a pope makes a trip to South America, there's a spate of news stories about Indians protesting the 16th century introduction of Christianity into the continent as a tool of colonialist oppression and an unprovoked assault on the indigenous spiritualies which flourished among the natives of the time. As with every comparable endeavor, no doubt there were many occasions of inexcusable rapacity in which the conquerors' religion was warped into an unseemly role. Yet it's facile to assume the indigenous religions were themselves free of unwelcome obligations. The following news item shows what it meant in pre-Christian Peru for your kids to take part in the Offertory:

LONDON (Reuters) - Hair samples taken from child mummies suggest the ancient Incas "fattened" up children chosen for ritual sacrifice months before actually killing them, British researchers said on Monday.

A chemical analysis of four mummies found high in the Andes mountains also indicates the Incans took the children on a lengthy pilgrimage prior to the killings, the team said. In the case of the 15-year-old "Llullaillaco Maiden" the road to death started at least 12 months before.

"We are looking at a process that began a considerable amount of time before their death," said Andrew Wilson, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford, who led the study. "The maiden was essentially being fattened up or prepared for her final fate at least 12 months before her killing."

Call it "full and active participation" in the liturgy.


21 posted on 10/07/2007 8:12:37 PM PDT by Coleus (Pro Deo et Patria)
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To: blam

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Note: this topic is from October 1, 2007.

Blast from the Past.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


22 posted on 07/10/2009 4:18:34 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: Billthedrill

The Lama

The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.*

— Ogden Nash


23 posted on 07/10/2009 4:24:33 AM PDT by shibumi (" ..... then we will fight in the shade.")
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