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  HOME | Peru

Incas Practiced Ritual Decapitation of Enemies, Archaeologists Say

LIMA – Peruvian archaeologists have reached the conclusion that the Incas decapitated their enemies to use their heads as offerings after finding three skulls in a ceremonial vessel in the southeastern city of Cuzco.

The director of Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, Washington Camacho, told Efe Friday that the heads found this week on Qowicarana ridge, an ancient ceremonial center north of Cuzco, could have been those of ancient chiefs or leaders of peoples who were enemies of the Incas.

For the archaeologist, the “trophy heads” could have been cut off “during a battle or in some other place after the capture of these “curacas” (chiefs of enemy peoples).

It is believed, Camacho said, that the offering of heads belonged to “the last phase of the Inca Empire,” in other words around 1500, probably “when Huayna Capac reigned.”

Archaeologists are continuing to excavate Qowicarana ridge in the belief that they will find the bodies of the three individuals, in order to determine whether the Incas really decapitated their enemies.

Together with the Inca vessel containing the three skulls, the archaeologists also dug up on Qowicarana ridge some small vessels with teeth inside, bone remains that the archaeologists believe were “prizes or trophies.”

Also excavated in the area were two small dishes with handles decorated with seashells, “a clear offering to the lake.”

Cuzco archaeologists have also found funerary remains on the ridge, including those of a man of 45 and a 2-year-old boy.

The park director said that all the “funerary contexts” are Inca offerings to their gods. EFE
 

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