Ancient History

Ancient Inca Children Were Taken Atop Mountains to be Struck by Lightning

A lightning storm in the distance. Image Credit: Pixabay.

A new archeological study has revealed that ancient Inca children were taken atop mountains and abandoned there to be struck by lightning.

Children throughout the Inca Empire were taken to the top of mountains and volcanoes to be struck by lightning, says a new scientific study at the University of Warsaw.

This weird sacrificial practice was intended to elevate infants to an intermediate status between the realm of mortals and the gods.

Sacrifice by lightning

Experts believe that being struck by 300 million volts of electricity from the heavens was a manifestation of a deity’s favoritism. In other words, the child that was struck by lightning was thought to have been favored by the gods.

This was confirmed after experts have reanalyzed the six remains of sacrificed children that were discovered more than two decades ago.

The remains of the children were found atop a rectangular platform on the mountains of Ampato and Pichu Pichu, in Peru. The remains were now reanalyzed using X-rays and other non-invasive methods to preserve the bodies.

Researchers have explained that according to the Incas if a person was struck by lightning, he received a great honor since the deity expressed interest in that person. This is according to Dagmara Socha, bioarchaeologist at the Center for Andean Studies at the University of Warsaw (CEAC).

“The belief that children are pure and immaculate facilitated the task of persuading the gods to make certain decisions,” revealed Socha.

Reanalyzing the remains

The recently analyzed remains were housed in the Andean Sanctuaries Museum. And while some of the remains are almost mummified, others are more deteriorated and have burn marks and evidence in soft tissues and clothes of having been struck by lightning.

The sacrificial nature of the discovery is confirmed by the area where the remains were discovered: according to experts, the regions are known for its many lighting strikes. In fact, the area around where the remains were discovered has been crystallized, which happens in the face of immense pressure and temperature, a tell-tale sign of lightning strikes.

The scientists are still trying to work out to understand how the ancient Inca selected what children where to be sacrificed. However, the researchers believe that children were taken from all over the Inca empire in order to symbolically unite distant regions.

Socha argues that the children certainly had to have some exceptional characteristics, such as beauty or lineage.

Among the sacrificed remains, the researchers also found the elongated head of two female children at the platform built at the Pichu Pichu volcano. It is believed that the elongated skulls were the result of artificial cranial deformation, a habitual practice among the ruling Inca elite.

The dental analysis of one of the girls revealed that traces of a traumatic event at the age of three, which they speculate might be the time the child was separated from her family.

“It is supposed to be the age when the child was taken to be brought to Cuzco, the capital of the Empire, where the child was prepared for three years before being sacrificed on the top of the volcano,” Socha revealed.

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