Category Archives: ECUADOR

Infants from 2100 years ago were found with helmets made of children’s skulls

Infants from 2100 years ago were found with helmets made of children’s skulls

Archaeologists excavating a site in Salango, Ecuador, have discovered evidence of a burial ritual that might even make Indiana Jones shiver. As the researchers report in the journal Latin American Antiquity, excavations at a pair of 2,100-year-old funerary mounds revealed several unusual sets of remains: namely, the skeletons of two infants wearing what appear to be bone “helmets” made from the skulls of older children.

Infants from 2100 years ago were found with helmets made of children's skulls
One of the infants was around 18 months old at the time of death, while the second was between 6 and 9 months old.

Members of the Guangala culture interred the infants at Salango, an ancient ritual complex on the country’s central coast, around 100 B.C.

Archaeologists unearthed the remains—as well as those of nine other individuals, many of whom were buried with small objects including figurines and shells—while conducting excavations between 2014 and 2016. Per the study, the discovery represents the only known evidence of “using juvenile crania as mortuary headgear” found to date.

One of the babies was around 18 months old at the time of death, while the second was between 6 and 9 months old.

As the study’s authors write, “The modified cranium of a second juvenile was placed in a helmet-like fashion around the head of the first, such that the primary individual’s face looked through and out of the cranial vault of the second.”

The older infant’s helmet originally belonged to a child aged 4 to 12 years old; interestingly, the researchers found a small shell and a finger bone sandwiched between the two-layered skulls. The second baby’s helmet was fashioned from the cranium of a child between 2 and 12 years old.

The researchers found a small shell and a finger bone sandwiched between the two-layered skulls.

Perhaps most eerily, the older children’s skulls likely still had flesh when they were outfitted over the infants’ heads. Juvenile skulls “often do not hold together” if they are simply bare bone, the archaeologists note.

“We’re still pretty shocked by the find,” lead author Sara Juengst of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte tells Forbes’ Kristina Killgrove. “Not only is it unprecedented, but there are also still so many questions.”

Potential explanations for the unexpected burials abound: DNA and isotope analysis currently underway may clarify whether the infants and children were related, but even if these tests fail to provide a definitive answer, Juengst says the researchers “definitely have a lot of ideas to work with.”

Speaking with New Atlas’ Michael Irving, Jeungst explains that “heads were commonly depicted in iconography, pottery, stone, and with literal heads in pre-Columbian South America.”

She adds, “They are generally representative of power, ancestors, and may demonstrate dominance over other groups—such as through the creation of trophy heads from conquered enemies.”

According to the paper, the helmets could have been intended to protect the deceased’s “presocial and wild” souls as they navigate the afterlife.

Other infants found in the funerary platform were buried with figurines placed near their heads, perhaps for a similar purpose. An alternative theory posits the skull helmets belonged to the infants’ ancestors and were actually worn in both life and death.

Jeungst and her colleagues also outline a “tantalizing hypothesis” centred on a volcano located near the burial site. Ash found at Salango suggests the volcano was active and likely interfering with agriculture in the area, potentially subjecting the children to malnourishment and even starvation. 

Sîan Halcrow, an archaeologist at New Zealand’s University of Otago whose research focuses on juvenile health and disease, tells Killgrove that all four sets of bones showed signs of anaemia.

Another less likely explanation identifies the children as victims of a ritual designed to quiet the volcano. The remains show no signs of trauma, however, and as Juengst says to Newsweek’s Aristos Georgiou, the evidence suggests the four juveniles “probably were quite ill anyway.”

The most plausible explanation, according to Jeungst, is that the Guangala outfitted the infants with skulls “in reaction to some sort of natural or social disaster and [to ensure] that these infants had extra protection or extra links to ancestors through their burials.”

While the unusual burial may seem macabre to modern readers, Juengst tells Killgrove she found the helmets “strangely comforting.”

“Dealing with the death of young infants is always emotional,” she explains, “but in this case, it was strangely comforting that those who buried them took extra time and care to do it in a special place, perhaps accompanied by special people, in order to honour them.”

FEFU archaeologists have found the oldest burials in Ecuador

FEFU archaeologists have found the oldest burials in Ecuador

Archaeologists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) found three burials of the ancient inhabitants of South America dated from 6 to 10 thousand years ago.

The ancient skull excavated in Loma Atahualpa, Ecuador, 2018, by archaeologists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU)

The excavations were carried out in Atahualpa Anton, Ecuador. The findings belong to the Las Vegas archaeological culture of the Stone Age.

Analysis of artefacts will help scientists understand the development of ancient cultures on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and clarify the origin and development of ancient American civilizations.

Research is being jointly conducted by FEFU and Primorsky Polytechnic University in Guayaquil (ESPOL, Ecuador).

Previously, FEFU scientists investigated the famous Neolithic settlement in Real Alto. In 2018, they decided to study an earlier site in order to trace the development of ancient cultures on the Pacific Coast opposite to the Pacific Coast of Russia (Russian Far East).

“The archaeological site of Loma Atahualpa is more archaic than Real Alto, its materials are transitional from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic.

We excavated three burials that were probably made at different times. This will make it possible to compare their materials and retrieve the new information on the development of ancient cultures in the period from 10 to 6 thousand years ago,” said Alexander Popov, director of the Educational and Scientific Museum of The School of Humanities of FEFU.

Expedition materials are processed by experts from several countries. The stone tools found were examined at Tohoku University (Japan) for traces of mechanical activity in order to understand how they were used. There were also sent samples for radiocarbon dating.

Simultaneously, anthropologists from The Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg) and the Institute of the Problems of Northern development, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Tyumen, Russia) began to study the morphological features of the human remains found.

“In the course of working with Ecuadorian colleagues, we have learned that our research attracted the obvious attention of scientists.

Last year’s symposium, which was organized at the Real Alto Museum, was attended by colleagues from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Poland and other countries.

We also cooperate with partners from several European countries and the Russian Academy of Sciences,” said Alexander Popov.

Priests Discover Golden Library Built by Giants Inside of a Cave in Ecuador?

Priests Discover Golden Library Built by Giants Inside of a Cave in Ecuador?

About two years ago we brought up the fact that in Ecuador a priest made one of the most incredible discoveries of the 21st century, to say the least. But because it didn’t get all that much attention, we figured it’d be about time we give it some more exposure.

So, the discovery was made by a man that goes by the name of Crespi.

He’s been working as a priest for most of his life now and despite the fact that he’s never been all that much of a believer in the extraterrestrial factor he couldn’t help but think about it as he saw the discovery with his own two eyes.

So, what exactly did he see? He stumbled across a massive metallic alien library which was packed full of sheets of gold, platinum, and other such precious metals.

Inside he also uncovered several artefacts that became known as Cueva de Los Tayos.

Priests Discover Golden Library Built by Giants Inside of a Cave in Ecuador

The Ecuadorian authorities wouldn’t confirm the existence of any of them, but the proof is definitely out there ready to be explored by anyone who’s willing to look for it.

Photograph of Father Crespi with some local children

It is said that many important individuals including Neil Armstrong himself visited the cave on multiple occasions to essentially discover the true origin of all of humanity.

The caves are said to go on forever and ever, to the point where it becomes impossible to read every book in the library within the span of one’s lifetime.

Fact Check & Truth

IN 1976, A MAJOR EXPEDITION entered the Cueva de Los Tayos in search of artificial tunnels, lost gold, strange sculptures, and a “metallic library,” supposedly left by a lost civilization aided by extraterrestrials. Among the group was the astronaut Neil Armstrong.

For as long as anyone can remember, the indigenous Shuar people of Ecuador have been entering a vast cave system on the jungle-covered eastern foothills of the Andes. They descend, using ladders made of vines, through one of three vertiginous entrances, the largest of which is a 213-foot-deep (65-meter) shaft that leads into a network of tunnels and chambers stretching, as far as we know, for at least 2.85 miles. The largest chamber measures 295 feet by 787 feet.

For the Shuar, these caves have long been a centre for spiritual and ceremonial practices, home to powerful spirits as well as tarantulas, scorpions, spiders, and rainbow boas. They are also home to nocturnal oilbirds, known locally as tayos, hence the name of the cave. The tayos are a favoured food of the Shuar, another reason why they brave the depths of the cave system.

In their role as guardians of the cave system, the Shuar had been left in relative peace over the last century or two, apart from an occasional gold prospector snooping around in the 1950s and ‘60s. Until that was, a certain Erich von Däniken decided to get involved.

The Swiss author captured the global imagination in 1968 with the publication of his book Chariots of the Gods? which was in large part responsible for the current plague of ancient astronaut theories and all that malarkey. Then, three years later, he published The Gold of the Gods, unleashing a little-known theory about the Cueva de Los Tayos upon his eager readership.

In The Gold of the Gods, von Däniken recounted the claims of János Juan Móricz, an explorer who claimed to have entered the caves in 1969. Inside the cave, he asserted, he had discovered a treasure trove of gold, strange artefacts and sculptures, and a “metallic library” containing lost information preserved on metal tablets. And the caves themselves were surely artificial, he claimed, created by some advanced intelligence now lost to history.

This was red meat for von Däniken, of course, and tied in very nicely with his spate of lucrative books promoting his theories of lost civilizations, ancient astronauts, and the like (or, as Carl Sagan put it, von Däniken’s theory that “our ancestors were dummies”).

It also inspired the first major scientific expedition to Cueva de Los Tayos. The 1976 expedition was led by Stan Hall, a Scottish civil engineer who had read von Däniken’s work. It quickly grew to become one of the largest cave expeditions of its time, with more than 100 people involved. These included British and Ecuadorian government officials, leading scientists and speleologists, British special forces, professional cavers, and none other than astronaut Neil Armstrong, who served as the expedition’s Honorary President.

The expedition was a success, at least in its less fanciful ambitions. The extensive network of caves was mapped far more thoroughly than ever before. Zoological and botanical findings were recorded. And archaeological discoveries were made. But no gold was found, no otherworldly artefacts discovered, and there was no sign of a metallic library. The cave system, too, appeared to be the result of natural forces rather than any kind of advanced engineering.

Interest in the Cueva de Los Tayos never again reached the heights of the 1976 expedition, but numerous research expeditions have since taken place. One of the more recent expeditions was that of Josh Gates and his team for the fourth season of the television series Expedition Unknown. Gates entered the cave system with Shuar guides and Eileen Hall, the daughter of the late Stan Hall from the 1976 expedition. And while expeditions such as these have resulted in fascinating zoological and geological discoveries, there’s still no sign of gold, aliens, or a library.

Infants from 2100 years ago found with helmets made of children’s skulls

Infants from 2100 years ago found with helmets made of children’s skulls

According to the new study, two babies from ancient South American burial mounds have been discovered wearing helmets made from the skulls of other infants.

Skulls and other objects excavated at burial sites on the coast of Ecuador.

As researchers tell in their report published earlier this month in the science journal, Latin American Antiquity, this is the first recorded evidence of ancient people using children’s skulls as burial headgear anywhere in the world.

Excavations on Ecuador’s coast from 2014 to 2016 discovered the bodies of 11 people in ancient burial mounds, including two adults, one young person, and four infants. Around the burials, small artefacts and shells were discovered.

But it was two of the infants wearing skull “helmets” found in two burial mounds dated to approximately 100 BC that really grabbed attention.

The research — led by University of North Carolina at Charlotte assistant professor Sara Juengst — found that one baby was 18 months old at the time of death, and was wearing parts of the skull of another child aged between four and 12 years old.

The skull was placed in a “helmet-like fashion around the head of the first, such that the primary individual’s face looked through,” the researchers said. A small shell and a child’s finger bone was found between the skull “helmet” and the infant’s head.

Items found during excavations of ancient burial sites on the coast of Ecuador.

The other infant was aged between six and nine months old and was wearing skull fragments of a child aged between two and 12 years old.

Researchers said the skull “helmets” likely still had flesh on them when they were put on the infants’ heads, as children’s skulls often don’t hold together.

The story behind the skull ‘helmets’

In the study, researchers acknowledged that there were a number of questions remaining. They did not know whose skulls had been turned into “helmets” — or why two babies were wearing “helmets” while others were not.

But the researchers noted that detached heads were “symbolically important” in South America, and dead children were often given special treatment in death.

“The human head was a potent symbol for many South American cultures,” the study found.

The researchers speculated that the skull “helmets” could have been an attempt to protect the babies’ souls — a theory that they said was given weight by the figurines found around the burial site.

The area had been hit by volcanic ashfall before the burial, the study said.

“A tantalizing hypothesis is that this bodily stress is related to the volcanic ash fall that preceded these burials, and that the treatment of the two infants was part of a larger, complex ritual response to environmental consequences of the eruption,” the researchers said. “More evidence is needed to confirm this.”

The researchers also noted that there was no evidence of the tomb being reopened or manipulated after the initial burial.

Previous studies have uncovered details of burial rites of ancient civilizations of South America.

Earlier this year, archaeologists in Peru found the remains of around 250 children sacrificed by the pre-Colombian Chimu civilization.

Fossil of giant owl that lived 40,000 years ago in Ecuador found

Fossil of giant owl that lived 40,000 years ago in Ecuador found

Argentinian and Ecuadorian researchers have found the fossilized remains of an owl that preyed on its smaller relatives.

An owl unlike anything seen today, which roamed on the continent of South America 40,000 years ago, has been described as a “biological rarity” due to its taste for ‘cannibalism’.

Speaking to a scientific agency at the Universidad Nacional de La Matanza in Argentina, researchers said the fossilized remains of the creature were found in the Ecuadorian Andes, 2,800 meters above sea level.

The first of its kind discovered in South America, the owl was more than 80cm high and had a wingspan of more than 1.5 meters.

According to Argentinian researcher Gastón Lo Coco, the creature’s legs were “long and thin, effective in capturing prey that is difficult to subdue”.

Fossilized bones of birds, and in particular smaller owls, were found around the owl’s remains.

“By finding the remains of the animals that had been the last meals of the Asio ecuadoriensis, we were able to know that, among mammals and birds, it consumed especially other types of owls, which shows us that this giant owl was practically what could be called a cannibal owl,” said Dr. Federico Agnolin, co-author of a study published to the Journal of Ornithology.

Size comparison between Asio ecuadoriensis and a human (left) and the preserved material of the ancient owl species (right).

A rare find

A total of four species of the owl were found in the cave, including three species that exist today and the so-called cannibal owl.

Fossilized remains in the same area were hardened by volcanic ash between 20,000 and 42,000 years ago, corresponding to the late Pleistocene era.

The researchers said that the discovery of fossilized birds is a rarity as their bones are hollow and brittle. When this recently discovered owl was alive, the area would have been a wasteland.

Until about 10,000 years ago, huge mammals such as glyptodonts, giant sloths, mastodons and saber-toothed tigers lived throughout South America.

Researchers said that the changing climate in this era possibly played a part in the owl’s extinction.

“We think that the climate change that occurred about 10,000 years ago, when the Ice Age ended, was partly responsible for the extinction of these large predatory birds of which they remain in currently very few species, such as the great eagles of the forests and the Andean condors,” Agnolin said.

A trove of 5,000-year-old artifacts returns to Ecuador

A trove of 5,000-year-old artifacts returns to Ecuador

Almost 40 years after the objects were moved to Canada for research, a series of artifacts from one of the most ancient settled civilizations in America was returned to Ecuador.

Although historical artifacts and art treasures have become fairly common in their places of origin, the current case is special because the objects were accompanied by media containing everything the scholars in Canada learned about them over the course of four decades.

The documents, pottery, gems and sculptures belonged to Valdivia Culture, which flourished between 3800 and 1500 BC in present-day Ecuador.

Besides the artifacts, the 166 crates that arrived on June 5 at San Francisco de Quito University in the Ecuadorian capital held five human skeletons.

The project began during an era when “there was not much in the way of technical-legal norms” regarding the shipment abroad of archaeological goods, Joaquin Moscoso, director of Ecuador’s National Institute of Cultural Patrimony, told EFE.

In 1982, he said, thousands of Valdivia items were taken to Canada from a dig in the southwestern coastal province of Santa Elena.

Their return to Ecuador came at the initiative of James Scott Raymond, professor of archaeology at the University of Calgary.

“They didn’t just return objects and fragments, but all of the scientific information,” Moscoso said, crediting Raymond and his team for carrying out one of the most “solid and interesting” studies of the Valdivia Culture, which was uncovered in the mid-1950s.

The work done in Canada on the Santa Elena artifacts led scholars to change some of their views on the development of settled cultures in the Americas, according to Florencio Delgado, head of the Quito’s university’s Archaeology Institute.

“Until this study, it was thought that the first populations in the New World who made ceramics were on the seacoast,” he said. “Now we know that the first ceramicists were farmers and they lived inland.”

The more than 10,000 items and fragments in the shipment from Canada include examples “of the oldest ceramics that have been found so far” on the western side of the Pacific Ocean, Delgado said.

While the abundance of feminine ceramic figures, known collectively as the “Venus of Valdivia,” has led some researchers to speculate that the Valdivia Culture was a matriarchal society.

“There are also human remains and now that it’s easier to do DNA (tests), the collection is ready for those scholars who are seeking to understand processes of settlement,” Delgado said.

Looking forward, he expressed the hope that the repatriation of the Valdivia collection from Canada will spur an effort to compile an inventory of Ecuadorian artifacts taken abroad for study.

Ideally, such an inventory would include information on the condition of the items, whether they are under active study, and if it makes sense to request their repatriation.

“There are times it’s better that they stay where they are because they are being investigated and they are being protected. And frequently, we can’t do that,” Delgado said.

Ecuador Expose the Skeletons of an Ancient Race of Giant Humans – 7 Times Bigger Than Modern Humans

Ecuador Expose the Skeletons of an Ancient Race of Giant Humans – 7 Times Bigger Than Modern Humans

According to a research team led by British anthropologist Russell Dement, strikingly tall skeletons uncovered in the Amazon region of Ecuador and Peru are undergoing examination in Germany. Will these remains prove that a race of tall people existed deep in the Amazon rainforest hundreds of years ago?