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Researchers reconstruct face of Inca girl sacrificed at volcano

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Researchers from the University of Warsaw and the Catholic University of Santa María have reconstructed the face of an Inca girl sacrificed near the crater of Ampato, a dormant volcano in the Andes of southern Peru.

The frozen remains of the girl were discovered by archaeologists in 1995 at a height of 6,318 metres above sea level. She was found wrapped in a bundle that had fallen from an Inca site due to recent ice melt. At the time, the researchers name her “Lady of Ampato,” who had been sacrificed on the summit around 500 years ago to the Inca gods.

Child sacrifice, referred to as capacocha or qhapaq hucha, was an important part of the Inca religion. The Inca believed that the sacrificed children do not truly die, but instead watch over the land from their mountaintop perches alongside their ancestors.

Accompanying the girl to the afterlife was 37 funerary offerings, such as aríbalos type containers for liquids, llama bones, small figurines, and ceramics decorated with geometric designs. Also uncovered was preserved food items such as maize kernels and cob.

28 years after the discovery, a team of researchers have reconstructed the girls features in a hyper-realist sculpture. This was done based on the tomography of the body, DNA studies, ethnological characteristics, age, and the girl’s complexion.

The tomographic analysis revealed that the girl was between 13 and 15 years old at the time of death, where she received a blow to the right occipital part of the skull. All this information allowed Dr. Oscar Nilson, Swedish archaeologist and plastic artist, to apply the Manchester technique to construct the face of the Inca girl.

Scientist Dagmara Socha, archaeologist from the team at the Center for Andean Studies in Warsaw, said: “The construction of the face of the Inca girl was very emotional, because it is as if this minor who lived 500 years ago had been resurrected.”

Catholic University of Santa María

Header Image Credit : Catholic University of Santa María

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Archaeology

Revolutionary war barracks discovered at Colonial Williamsburg

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Archaeologists excavating at Colonial Williamsburg have discovered a barracks for soldiers of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence.

Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum that forms part of the historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 until 1779, founded by English settlers during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632).

Tensions with England mounted over fundamental civil and economic rights for the colonists, resulting in the American Revolution and the American War of Independence.

Image Credit : Colonial Williamsburg

Archaeologists excavating next to the museum’s visitor’s centre uncovered foundations of a barracks that could accommodate up to 2,000 soldiers from the Continental Army and up to 100 horses.

“We have horseshoes,” said Jack Gary, Colonial Williamsburg executive director of archaeology. “We also have this object here which is a snaffle bit, so it’s part of a horse bit that goes in the mouth to control the horse. And this object here is part of a curry comb for brushing down the horse’s coat.”

Excavations have so far unearthed only a small part of the complex, but experts suggest that it covered roughly three to four acres.

The barracks were known from Eighteenth-century maps and other historical documents, but until now, the exact location of where it existed within the colony interior was unknown.

According to the historical sources, the barracks were built between 1776 and 1777, and were later destroyed by fire in 1781 by soldiers of the British Army under the command of General Cornwallis.

Excavations also uncovered mid-1700 chimney bases, ceramics, gun flint, coins, musket balls, military buckles, and items of decorative jewellery worn by high-ranking officers as cufflinks.

An interesting discovery are examples of lead shot with indications of tooth-marks, suggesting that the soldiers chewed on the lead shot because it tasted sweet.

Header Image Credit : Colonial Williamsburg

Sources : Colonial Williamsburg

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought

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Archaeologists have found that Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

An analysis of the oldest archaeological sites on the island suggests that the first human occupation occurred between 14,257 and 13,182 years ago.

This analysis, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used archaeological data, climate estimates, and demographic modelling.

The demographic modelling indicates that these early groups consisted of hundreds to thousands of people, who arrived in two to three main migration events over a period of only 100 years. Within just a few centuries, 11 generations – the population of Cypris had expanded to up 4,000 to 5000 inhabitants.

According to the study authors, these findings refute previous studies that suggested Mediterranean islands would have been unreachable and inhospitable for Pleistocene hunter-gatherer societies. “This settlement pattern implies organised planning and the use of advanced watercraft,” says Professor Bradshaw.

The climate estimates suggest that these early settlers arrived at a time during an increase in temperature and precipitation, also enabling an increase in environmental productivity that could sustain large hunter-gather populations.

Dr Moutsiou, said: “It has been argued that human dispersal to and settlement of Cyprus and other eastern Mediterranean islands is attributed to demographic pressures on the mainland after abrupt climatic change saw coastal areas inundated by post-glacial sea-level rise, forcing farming populations to move to new areas out of necessity rather than choice.”

Our research, based on more archaeological evidence and advanced modelling techniques, changes that”, adds Dr Moutsiou.

The research – “Demographic models predict end-Pleistocene arrival and rapid expansion of pre-agropastoralist humans in Cyprus” by Corey Bradshaw, Christian Reepmeyer, Frédérik Saltré, Athos Agapiou, Vasiliki Kassianidou, Stella Demesticha, Zomenia Zomeni, Miltiadis Polidorou and Theodora Moutsiou – has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Header Image Credit : Michalakis Christoforou

Sources : Demographic models predict end-Pleistocene arrival and rapid expansion of pre-agropastoralist humans in Cyprus. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2318293121

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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