Archaeologists excavated babies buried 2,000 years ago wearing a 'helmet' made from the skulls of other children who died to protect them in the afterlife.
- Two babies were among the remains of 11 people found in South America
- Babies were found wearing helmets made from skulls from other children
- Experts suggest children might have been sacrificed to calm the volcano
- Or children have died due to lack of food, because volcanoes hurt food production
Archaeologists found 11 burials in South America, two of which are babies with a 'helmet' made from the skulls of other children.
Researchers theorize that helmets might have been used to protect babies from 'pre-social and wild souls' when they head to the afterlife.
The team has also suggested that they might have been part of a ritual response to the volcanic eruption that occurred shortly before they were buried.
The discovery was made at a burial site called Salango, on the coast of central Ecuador, Livescience reported.
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Archaeologists unearth 11 funerals in South America, two of which are babies with a 'helmet' made from the skulls of other children
'The human head is a strong symbol for many South American cultures. Isolated heads are often included in the context of the mortuary, representing captured enemies, respected people, and 'seeds' symbolically, read published studies.
'In Salango, a ritual complex on Ecuador's central coast, excavations revealed two burial mounds dated to around 100 BC.
'Of the 11 identified funerals, two babies were interred with & # 39; helmets' made from other teen skull safes.
"Additional crania is placed around the main burial head, possibly at the time of the burial."
Researchers theorize that helmets might have been used to protect babies from 'pre-social and wild souls' when they head to the afterlife
"All crania show lesions related to bodily stress."
Although researchers have theories about what might kill babies, the exact reason is still unknown.
However, the team suspected something to do with volcanic eruptions that occurred not too long before the baby was buried.
They could die from lack of food, because the ash from the eruption might affect food production in the area and children might starve.
Another suggestion is that the children are part of the 'ritual response to the environmental consequences of the eruption,' wrote archaeologists, who according to the team might be the cause of death.
Lesions were found in the remains of both infants (a and d), indicating the baby was suffering from some kind of body pressure. Experts suggest they might have been sacrificed or suffered from malnutrition
One of the babies died at the age of 18 months, who was buried wearing a helmet that his team believed came from the skull of a child aged four to 12 years.
The second baby was around six to nine months at the time of death and was found with a skull helmet made from another person who had died between the ages of two and 12 years.
The research team hopes that ongoing DNA and isotope analysis will confirm whether infants and children become 'skull helmets' it is related, but they say in their paper that various possibilities for the origin of the skull exist, but that they think burial is evidence of an ancient tradition associated with ideas about 'rebirth'.
WHY DO SOUTH AMERICA CULTURES REPORT THEIR CHILDREN?
Child sacrifice seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in ancient Peruvian culture, including pre-Inca Sican, or Lambayeque culture and the Chimu people who followed them, as well as the Incas themselves.
Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior is the remains of a child's mummy, which was discovered in 1985 by a group of mountain climbers.
The remains were found about 17,388 feet (5,300 meters) on the southwestern ridge of Cerro Aconcagua in the Argentine province of Mendoza.
Child sacrifice seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in ancient Peruvian culture. Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior are the remains of a child's body mummy (pictured), discovered in 1985 by a group of mountain climbers
The boy is thought to have been a victim of an Inca ritual called capacocha, in which children who were very beautiful and healthy were sacrificed by drugging them and taking them to the mountains to freeze to death.
The ruins of the refuge used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were found by a personrheae expert in a coastal ruins complex in Peru in 2016.
Experts who dug at Chotuna-Chornancap, in northern Lima, found 17 graves dating from at least the 15th century. This includes the graves of six children placed side by side in shallow graves.
Capacocha is the most common ritual after the death of an Inca king. Local authorities are required to choose children without blemish that represent the ideals of human perfection.
The ruins of a refuge used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were found by archaeologists in a coastal ruins complex in Peru in 2016. Experts who dug at Chotuna-Chornancap (pictured), north of Lima, found 17 graves that come from at least graves. 15th century
Children are married and given miniature sets of figures of humans and llamas with gold, silver, copper and shells. The figure of a man has elongated ears and braided headbands and statues of women wearing their hair with headscarves.
The children were then returned to their home communities, where they felt honored before being sacrificed to the mountain gods on Mount Llullaillaco.
The phrase Capacocha has been translated to mean 'solemn sacrifice' or 'royal duty.'
The reason for this type of sacrifice is usually understood as commemorating important events in the life of the Inca emperors, to send them to be with the gods after their death, to stop natural disasters, to encourage plant growth or for religious ceremonies.