July 8, 2018

New Research on Two Ancient Chilean Female Remains Yields Surprising Results

Mummies of two girls, aged 9 and 18 were discovered in Chile in 1976. They are dated to 1399-1475 CE. They were buried with rich grave goods. Their burial clothes were a deep red color. They were ritually sacrificed. The girls were transported all the way from Cusco, 745 miles away, with their goods. The trip would have taken several months. New research on the girls clothes, using chemical and microscopic testing, found that the red color was from cinnabar. Cinnabar is a toxic substance. Those who buried the girls could have sprinkled the cinnabar powder to deter looters. Inhaling the powder can cause mercury poison.The ritual sacrifice ceremony may have been performed to celebrate the area coming under Inca rule.

The research has been published in the journal Archaeometry.

Science Alert has the report here with photos;

https://www.sciencealert.com/cerro-esmeralda-chile-inca-mummies-toxic-cinnabar-in-clothing-ritual-sacrifice

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