A team of archeologists made a ghastly discovery in South America, where they uncovered the ancient remains of two infants who wore helmets made from the bones of older children.
It is well-known that the human head is an important symbol in many African cultures. It tends to surface in sites where funeral rites took place, and it can represent the head of a fallen enemy, a person who was appreciated by the people and a form of symbolic seeds.
A ritual complex has been explored on the central coast of Ecuador. The complex, which is known as Salango, was excavated recently, and two burial mounds were unearthed. Further tests revealed that the remains were quite old, dating from 100 BC. The researchers identified 11 burials and among them were observed, two infants. The infants sported a kind of crude helm on their heads, and the researchers discovered that the accessories were made from the cranial vaults of other children.
The extra crania were placed around the heads of the persons who were buried, and all of them featured lesions that are linked to bodily stress. It has been theorized that the children may have died from hunger in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption that ruined the production of food. However, it is also possible that they were sacrificed as a part of a ritual that sought to limit the consequences of the eruption.
It is worth noting that ritual human sacrifices are quite common among pre-historic tribes and they were practiced by a large number of cultures spread across several continents and islands. They also tend to be a staple in some pre-Columbian cultures, among which we can count the Mayans and the Incas.
For example, the Incas performed a ritual that involved the sacrifice of children from good families, since they were deemed to be purer. After being drugged they were taken to the summits of glacial mountains and left to freeze to death.
A paper was published in a scientific journal.