All posts by Archaeology World Team

What made this ancient society sacrifice its own children?

Why were hundreds of children sacrificed in ancient Peru?

Archeologists who found them must have been shocked, perplexed and saddened before they first found the children’s bodies. Why would someone ever kill hundreds of kids ritually? What kind of monster is capable of such incredible evil.

In Peru archeologists who have lately digged something out of a horror novel have stumbled upon, according to Al Jazeera:

“Archaeologists in Peru have discovered a grave containing the bodies of 227 children who were almost certainly killed as part of a child sacrifice ritual.

“The sacrificial site was found near Huanchaco, a beachside tourist town north of Lima.

“‘This is the biggest site where the remains of sacrificed children have been found.

All of the children had been ritually sacrificed with their hearts cut out.

The bodies of the children are believed to have been a part of the ancient Chimú culture are the date from a period between 1400 and 1450.

“From about 900 until 1470 AD, at which time they were conquered by the Inca empire. A scientific paper published in March in PLOS One details the results of recent excavations at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas archaeological site, where ‘evidence of a previously unknown ritual involving a massive sacrifice of 140 children and 200 young camelids (llamas) by the Chimú State, c. AD 1450.’

The site, according to the Los Angeles Times, is one of the largest known cases of child sacrifice in the history of the Americas, and those who uncovered the bodies were said to be “shocked” unable to believe they had found so many tiny children who had been slaughtered in such a ritualistic fashion.

Archaeologists were astonished by what they found at the burial site

The Chimú people were highly advanced and valued agriculture because it helped feed their nation. They even build a network of hydraulic canals so they could bring water from the mountainous region down to irrigate their crops.

Yet none of these facts explain why the Chimú would have suddenly felt a need to sacrifice so many children. There are no written records of their specific religious beliefs, but we do know that the bodies were buried “in a thick layer of mud that lay on top of the sand” and this would seem to suggest they were placed there after heavy rains caused massive mudslides in the area.

Could the weather have been the reason for the sacrifices?

“The northern coast of Peru is very dry in general, but El Niño climate conditions can bring unexpected heavy rains and flooding.”

What gods were being appeased by the sacrifices?

Haagen Klaus, an anthropologist at George Mason University, believes the floods were what caused the sudden need for human sacrifices, adding that “he had little doubt that the sacrifice was a response to the rains.”

It was believed that the ancestors controlled water supplies and offerings were made to appease the ancestors, ‘to bring the world back into balance.’”

Imagine what must have transpired: The rains and flooding came, destroying the crops and economy of the Chimú.

They felt a need to appease the gods, so they arranged for the ritual sacrifice of children and llamas, the most valuable things in their society.

Though it seems barbaric and unforgivable to us thousands of years later, the Chimú were merely doing what they hoped would revive their nation and return balance to nature and life.

But the evidence they left seems to suggest that all they accomplished was leaving a charnel house of horrors to document their own lack of understanding.

400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

The inner handle underwent the carbonization process, the hammerhead was constructed with iron purity, and this is only possible with modern-day technology, according to research by the Metallurgical Institute of Columbia.

According to analysis, the head of the hammer consists of 97 pure iron, 2 percent chlorine, and 1 percent sulfur.

This curious artifact was discovered in the city of London, Texas, USA, in 1934. The hammer appeared embedded inside a rock and since its discovery, there have been many theories about its origin, and most importantly its incredible age.

So how did the hammer end up embedded inside the rock?

Well, for the hammer to finish inside the rock, it had to have been built before the rock was formed and that would be several million years ago according to Livescience.

After its discovery and due to all the questions the hammer raised, researchers decided to abandon the incredible discovery in the Somervell Museum, in Texas.

According to studies of the Metallurgical Institute of Columbia,  the inside handle underwent the process of carbonization, the head of the hammer was built with an iron purity only achievable with modern-day technology. According to analysis, the head of the hammer consists of 97 pure iron, 2 percent chlorine, and 1 percent sulfur.

Surprisingly researchers also found that the iron had undergone a process of purification and hardening, typical of metallurgy of the twentieth century.

According to analysis, the rock encasing of the hammer was dated to the Ordovician era, more than 400 million years ago.

The portion of stone surrounding the hammer-head also presented abnormalities, seeming to have merged with some type of sheath covering the hammer.

According to geologists, the slow process of petrification dates back hundreds of millions of years.

This has led several ufologists and ancient astronaut theorists to a quick deduction of the context of the incredible discovery leading them to assume not only that there was a human civilization before the historical process of petrification in Texas, but that this ancient civilization already possessed the necessary technology for the fabrication of a hammer with modern features.

Evidence suggesting that the iron from the hammer might have originated from a meteorite is not a possibility according to researchers.

The chemical analysis of the artifact also detected certain amounts of potassium, silicon, chlorine, calcium, and sulfur. Thus, this composition contradicts the hypothesis postulated that the hammer-head belonged to the fragment of a meteorite since the bodies of our solar system do not have that type of chemical composition.

Researchers also believe, that since the head of the hammer was found embedded into the rock, it suggests that the embedding process was performed under different atmospheric conditions to the current, different atmospheric pressure, more similar to those in the remote past.

Against the remote possibility that a meteorite with an extremely rare and bizarre chemical composition and exceptional morphology, got caught, in prehistoric times, onto a piece of wood just as the head of the discovered hammer imprisons its handle, some researchers and ancient astronaut theorists point toward the fact that our planet was inhabited in ancient times, by civilizations with advanced technical and technological capacity, of which today we only have legends and items like this one who were trapped in rock. 

Unfortunately, some scientists do not agree with the theory that an ancient civilization created the hammer, and claim that it was only a metallurgical technique that had been eventually abandoned.

This extraordinary artifact belongs to the list of many other mysterious objects that have been discovered across the globe, and just like the Russian “microchip” or the 300 million-year-old screw, this item has caused debate among researchers and historians who are divided into groups, supporting and denying the possibility that the human race is much older than previously thought.

Whether this artifact is indeed a hammer dating back hundreds of millions of years, is something that will fuel debate among supporters of the ancient astronaut theory and conventional archaeologists, who both have provided arguments explaining the origin and age of the hammer.

500-Year-Old Incan ‘Princess’ Mummy Finally Returned To Bolivia After 129 Years

500-Year-Old Incan ‘Princess’ Mummy Finally Returned To Bolivia After 129 Years

Some 129 years after it was donated to the Michigan State University Museum, a 500-year-old Incan Girl’s mummy has been returned to Bolivia and an official says that human remains of archeological significance are the first time being repatriated back to the Andean country.

Known as Ñusta, a Quechua word for ‘Princess,’ the mummy amazes many because of its excellent state of preservation: Its black braids seem recently combed and its hands still cling to small feathers.

Experts say the mummy originally came from a region in the Andean highlands near La Paz during the last years of the Inca civilization. 

Radiocarbon tests also have revealed that it dates to the second half of the 15th century, confirming the likelihood that its tomb burial preceded the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the conquest of the Inca by the Spanish.

Close-up of Ñusta’s very well-preserved feet and hands.

‘Despite the fact that it was given the name Ñusta, or ‘Princess,’ we don’t know if she was really a princess.

We will only be able to answer that with DNA studies,’ said William A. Lovis, an MSU emeritus professor of anthropology who worked for years to help bring the remains home.

The mummy was returned more than two weeks ago with the assistance of the U.S. embassy in La Paz, and a new study is expected to be carried out by November by Bolivian academics and foreign experts. 

Until then, accompanying funerary objects will be exhibited to the public during a celebration that pays homage to the dead on Nov. 2.

Culture Minister Wilma Alanoca said that in recent years, the Bolivian government has achieved the repatriation of several archaeological goods that were taken illegally, but this is the first time that a body has been brought back.

‘It’s the first time that a body has been recovered, a mummy from the Inca period,’ she said.

Still, many mysteries remain unsolved.

The girl, who is thought to have been part of an ethnic Aymara group known as the Pacajes, had originally been placed in a stone tomb along with sandals, a small clay jar, pouches, feathers and several types of plants including maize and coca – perhaps because some Andean civilizations believed that offerings helped the dead transition into the next life.

The mummy was originally found in a chullpa, a stone burial tomb built by the Aymara.

‘It’s possible that the girl was an important person and that the objects placed with her had as much sacred importance as they had a useful purpose,’ said Lovis. 

‘Another possibility is that her death was an Inca sacrifice to appease or an offer to Inca deities.’

Ñusta is believed to have been about 8 years old when she died and was buried in a dress made with threads from llama or alpaca, animals which were domesticated more than 4,000 years ago in the Andes and still roam the highlands of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.

David Trigo, who heads the National Archaeology Museum in La Paz, said the well-kept objects open new doors into a society that has barely been studied.

‘We can say that she was an important member of her ethnic group,’ Trigo said, referring to Incan and Aymara traditions of building adobe or stone tombs known as chullpa for elite members of their communities.

For now, the remains are being preserved in a refrigerated chamber at the National Archaeology Museum in downtown La Paz.

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

In South Africa, a young boy walking his dog has unconsciously stumbled through a pair of about 2 million years old which is now supposed to fill an integral gap in our knowledge of human evolution.

Nine-years-old Matthew Berger and his dog stumbled in a cavern close Johannesburg in 2008, in Malapa, South Africa, over the partially fossilized bones of an adult woman and a young man.

Since then, there has been much debate over whether these remains are genuinely distinct from previously discovered species.

Nine-year-old Matthew Berger upon the skeleton’s discovery.

The bones were found to be a close relative of the Homo genus and have come to be known as Australopithecus sediba (Au. Sediba) — “Australopithecus” means “southern ape.” And now, according to a new study, the remains are believed to be the bridge in human evolution between early humans and our more apelike ancestors.

Australopithecus sediba is thought to come between the 3-million-year-old apelike species known as Australopithecus afarensis (from which the famous “Lucy” specimen comes) and the “Handyman” species known as Homo habilis, who used tools 1.5 million to 2.1 million years ago.

And these latest Au. Sediba skeletons are even more complete than the famous “Lucy,” whose 1974 discovery was previously unprecedented.

“The anatomies we are seeing in Australopithecus sediba are forcing us to reassess the pathway by which we became human,” reported Jeremy DeSilva, co-author of the study.

The skeleton of Au. sediba on display at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Though some researchers have noted this discovery as indeed that of a unique species since its uncovering in 2008, this latest study illustrates precisely how Au. sediba is, in fact, distinct.

The study thoroughly describes the new species’ anatomy and has found similarities with early members of the Homo genus “suggesting a close evolutionary relationship.”

The hands of the nearly 2-million-year-old Au. sediba resemble those of Homo habilis but are not the same, which suggests that the former was also able to use tools or at the very least, had a more precise grip than that of earlier species.

Australopithecus sediba is also now believed to have walked on two feet, though it would have spent much of its time in the trees, “perhaps for foraging and protection from predators,” the study said.

And all this, remember, came from an accidental discovery.

“Imagine for a moment that Matthew stumbled over the rock and continued following his dog without noticing the fossil,” the authors wrote.

“If those events had occurred instead, our science would not know about Au. sediba, but those fossils would still be there, still encased in calcified clastic sediments, still waiting to be discovered.”