Mummified llamas yield new insights into Inca ritual sacrifices

Mummified llamas stashed at a greater than 500-year-old web site on Peru’s southern coast supply the primary direct glimpse of Inca ritual sacrifices of those animals.

Coloured strings made out of the hair of llamas or intently associated animals embellished 5 naturally mummified llamas discovered at an Inca administrative heart referred to as Tambo Viejo. 4 of these llamas lay collectively beneath the ground of a giant, rectangular construction, Lidio Valdez, an archaeologist on the College of Calgary in Canada, and his colleagues report within the December Antiquity. Scattered stays of not less than three extra llamas had been discovered close to the intact animals. One other llama, lacking its head and probably moved from one other location, had been positioned beneath the ground of a smaller constructing.

Bones of a whole lot of llamas had already been discovered at Tambo Viejo, per Spanish historic accounts of mass llama sacrifices to appease varied Inca deities. These ceremonies concerned the slaughter of llamas that had been most likely butchered and eaten, not interred complete, Valdez’s group says.

The newly found llamas had been killed as children, certain and certain buried alive (together with reside guinea pigs) as a part of an occasion held to win assist from native residents for Inca annexation of the area (SN: 10/6/11), the scientists say. Lab exams detected no cuts to llamas’ throats or midsections.

Excavations at a Peruvian settlement established by the Inca uncovered these 4 naturally mummified llamas, apparently sacrificed to assist cement management over the area.L.M. Valdez

Llama sacrifices occurred in entrance of native audiences, Valdez and his colleagues speculate. Massive ovens and stays of partly burned animal bones and candy potatoes at Tambo Viejo match a state of affairs by which public feasts adopted ritual sacrifices.

Archaeological proof of Inca youngster sacrifices has additionally been discovered elsewhere in Peru (SN: 9/22/10). However Spanish accounts from the 1600s point out that Inca authorities most frequently focused llamas and guinea pigs as sacrificial choices, the researchers say.

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