Archaeologists seek out mystery behind 500-year-old 'spines on sticks'
A new study of threaded vertebrae from Peru reveal they were memorials to the horrors of European colonization witnessed by Indigenous communities.
The first systematic analysis of nearly 200 enigmatic artifacts from a Peruvian valley reveal they were likely created as a way to reconstruct community burials that were looted during Spanish rule some 500 years ago.
The research, published today in the journal Antiquity, focuses on human vertebrae threaded on sticks, hundreds of which have been found near and inside elaborate tombs known as chullpas in Peru’s Chincha valley, about 120 miles south of Lima. This coastal region was once the heartland of the Chincha Kingdom, which ruled from about A.D. 900 until it became part of the Inca Empire in about 1480.
Local farmers have long known of the threaded vertebrae and recognized them as ancient objects, according to archaeologist