Latest Issue of Science News


News

Taking trophy heads close to home

New evidence suggests that an ancient South American culture obtained ritual skulls by killing and beheading some of its own people, not foreign warriors

In South America’s ancient Nasca culture, some local folk literally lost their heads so that everyone else might fill their bellies. The Nasca obtained trophy heads, human skulls modified in various ways and intended to spur successful farming, from their own people, not from foreigners slain in battles and raids as was practiced by the Inca and other prehistoric societies of that region, a new study finds.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.