Photos: Nearly 200 impaled spines discovered at archaeological site in Peru

The remains were found in the archaeological site of the Chincha Valley, in southern Peru.

Photo: Skitterphoto/Pexels

A team of Archaeologists found nearly 200 human spines attached to wooden sticks that they would have an antiquity of five centuries, a practice not very well known until now, the magazine Antiquity announced last Tuesday.

The 192 specimens found, including the bones of children and adults, They were unearthed in the archaeological site of the Chincha Valley, in southern Peru. and 200 km from the capital, Lima.

This practice of assembling bone remains would have occurred around 1450 AD (Photo:

According to the researchers, this practice of assembling bone remains would have occurred around 1450 and 1650 AD, periods that encompass the domain of the Inca empire and the beginning of European colonization.

“Our findings suggest that the vertebrae with the sticks represent a direct, ritualized and indigenous response to European colonialism,” Jacob Bongers, lead author of the study and an archaeologist at the University of East Anglia (UK), told Insider.

Skeletal remains found in Peru. (Photo:

“We are seeing funeral behavior in times of crisis,” he added.

After the arrival of the European settlers, the Chincha population was reduced. (Photo:

The end of the Chincha after the arrival of the colonizers

The Chincha culture lived in that area, made up mainly of communities of farmers, fishermen and merchants. Its greatest period of splendor, reflected in the Chincha Kingdom, prospered between 1000 and 1400 AD, later joining the Inca empire.

After the arrival of European settlers, the Chincha population shrank dramatically, from 30,000 households in 1533 to 979 in 1583, the study said: “The dates coincide with this incredibly turbulent period of famine, epidemics, and of course, Europeans arriving and trying to install a new social order,” added Bongers.

Location of the Chincha culture. (Photo:

Why were the spines impaled?

Many Andean peoples of that time already visited the tombs with the remains of relatives, some of them were buried with gold, silver and other valuable objects, which led many Europeans to loot the tombs in search of riches.

“All of these data support the model that these vertebrae in the sticks were efforts to perhaps reconstruct the dead in response to European looting,” the study’s author insisted.

“The fact that there are 192 of these, that’s quite a lot. This indicates that this is a shared and coordinated response to European colonization,” Bongers concluded.

With information from DW

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