Chincha of Ancient Peru Threaded the Spines of Their Dead

March 3, 2022

Spanish invaders in ancient Peru looted burials to take out gold and silver from the textiles that wrapped the bodies of the dead. Local Chincha people then tried to put the bodies of their dead back together.

The Chincha were a wealthy society of 30,000 people that included fishers and farmers, known as sea-faring merchants.

Researchers have found human vertebrae carefully threaded on to reed posts in the Chincha valley of Peru. 200 found so far. Radio carbon dates show the individuals died between 1520-1550.

It is plausible the action was a response to colonial looting, but many Andean societies revisited the remains of their dead which periodically brought out their mummies and gave them drinks before returning them to their tombs.

The research was published in the Journal Antiquity