Humans ‘finger-painted’ ancestral skulls red in the Andes a thousand years ago

Up until a thousand years ago, the Chincha people of what is now Peru decorated their ancestral remains with red pigment, sometimes finger-painting their skulls as part of a ritual aimed at giving the dead a new kind of social life.

In a new study, researchers analyzed hundreds of human remains found in southern Peru’s Chincha Valley. The skeletal remains they studied, dated between AD 1000 and 1825, have been found in large mortuary structures of more than 100 “chullpas”, where multiple people were buried together. The team’s goal is detailed in the March 2023 issue. Journal of Anthropological Archeology (opens in new tab)was to investigate how and why red dye was applied to many bones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *