The remains left after a ritual mass sacrifice of photos of Guinea by the Inca Empire were first discovered from a dig site located in southern Peru.
They were found adorned with tiny earrings and necklaces, some even being wrapped in small rugs before being buried.
The Spanish conquistadors documented such practices – during which hundreds of animals would be killed – but the material evidence was lacking.
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Surprisingly, rodents were found adorned with tiny earrings and necklaces, some having even been wrapped in small rugs before being buried (photo).
During their first encounters with the Inca Empire, Spanish conquistadors claimed to have observed that the inhabitants periodically sacrificed various animal species in large numbers.
Guinea pigs were the most commonly used sacrificial animals and it is thought that the Incas would kill up to hundreds of rodents in one ceremony.
However, the archaeological evidence of this ritual had never been found elsewhere on their territory.
Today, a researcher from the Andean Studies Institute has discovered two burial sites containing the remains of 100 guinea pigs in total.
The findings were made at the Tambo Viejo excavation site in the Acari Valley, near the southern coast of Peru.
The two burials date back about 400 years.
In preparation for the sacrificial ritual, some guinea pigs had been decorated with colorful strings – placed on animals in the form of earrings and necklaces – while others were also wrapped in a small cotton fiber rug .
Guinea pigs were the most commonly used sacrificial animals; reports recount that the Incas would kill up to hundreds of rodents in one ceremony.
Although the discovery of the guinea pigs themselves is not surprising in light of the stories of the conquistadors, the decoration was unexpected.
"I was surprised after finding that a good number of guinea pigs were adorned with colorful strings placed in the form of earrings and necklaces," Newsweek told the author and archaeologist Lidio Valdez.
The Spaniards have never said anything about it.
The exact reason for decorating sacrificial rodents is not clear.
& # 39;[It] could be something to do with the desire of individuals, who may have wanted to make the gifts very special. Dr. Valdez suggested.
"A good number of guinea pigs have been found in an excellent state of conservation – naturally mummified," said Dr. Valdez.
The animals were also found buried, head up, with no sign of external injury.
This, suggests Dr. Valdez, states that "they could be alive when they were buried".
The remains were found buried under the floors of two Incan structures (pictured above, one of the buildings seen from west to east) on the Tambo Viejo site
The remains were found buried under the soils of two Incan structures of the Tambo Viejo site – 72 fewer guinea pigs and one less than 28 years old.
Both buildings would have been adjacent to a square on which public activities – including ritual sacrifices – would have been undertaken.
The buildings would then have been taken over during the invasion of the Spaniards.
The findings were made at the Tambo Viejo excavation site in the Acari Valley, near the southern coast of Peru. The remains were found buried under the soils of two Incan structures of the Tambo Viejo site – 72 fewer guinea pigs and 28 under each other.
The analysis of the researcher also revealed that the majority of guinea pigs were juveniles.
"Humans prefer the meat of young animals because of its tenderness. Humans believed that deities also deserved tender meat, "he said.
"We must remember that" young "can also mean something else, such as pure, uncontaminated, etc.
The complete results of the study were published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
Why did the old South American cultures sacrifice their children?
The children's sacrifices seem to have been relatively common in the cultures of ancient Peru, including the pre-Inca or lambayeque sicana culture and the Chimu people who followed them, as well as among the Incas themselves. .
Among the findings revealing this ritual behavior are the mummified remains of a child 's body, discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers.
The remains were discovered at approximately 17,388 feet (5,300 meters) on the southwest ridge of Cerro Aconcagua Mountain, in the Argentine province of Mendoza.
Child sacrifices seem to have been relatively common in the cultures of ancient Peru. Among the findings revealing this ritual behavior were the mummified remains of a child's body (photo), discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers.
It is thought that the boy was the victim of an Inca ritual called capacocha, during which children of great beauty and exceptional health were sacrificed by drugging them and taking them into the mountains to die of cold.
The ruins of a shrine used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were discovered by aarchaeologists in a complex of coastal ruins in Peru in 2016.
The experts who dug at Chotuna-Chornancap, north of Lima, discovered 17 tombs dating back to at least the 15th century. This included the graves of six children placed side by side in pairs of shallow graves.
The capacocha was a ritual that was held most often at the death of an Inca king. Local lords were required to choose unblemished children representing the ideal of human perfection.
Archaeologists discovered in 2016 ruins of a shrine used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods. Experts excavated excavations in Chotuna-Chornancap (photo), north of Lima, and discovered 17 graves dating back to at least the 15th century
The children were married and received sets of miniature figurines representing a human and a llama in gold, silver, copper and shell. Male silhouettes have elongated earlobes and a braided headband. Female figures wore their hair in braids.
The children were then sent back to their original communities, where they were honored before being sacrificed to the mountain gods on the Llullaillaco volcano.
The expression "capacocha" has been translated as "solemn sacrifice" or "royal obligation".
The reason for this type of sacrificial rite has generally been understood as commemorating the important events in the life of the Inca emperor, sending them to join deities when they die, to stop natural disasters, to Encourage the growth of cultures or celebrate religious ceremonies.