September 2, 2019

New Research on Inca Trophy Heads

Chilean archaeologists have researched four severed skulls from the late Inca era (1476-1534) which were buried in isolation with trash and without their bodies, at the site of Iglesia Colorada, in northern Chile.  The skulls were modified with orifices in the cranium vault and defleshed mandibles. They look to have been mounted as trophy skulls as a ritualistic display of power over local subjects in their empire. The Inca mined copper in the area.

The skulls were found in 2003. Three of the skulls were females and one child. Five other skulls were found at the site. These may represent new ideological tools of control. The site was on the periphery of the Inca empire. Perhaps there was a rebellion there. The Inca may have been targeting weaker members, women and children, to preserve their male labor pool.

The findings are reported in Latin American Antiquity.

Science Alert has the report here;

The Daily Mail has good photos and illustrations of the research;