(ORDO NEWS) — For more than 500 years, the mummified remains of several young children, frozen high on a volcano in southern Peru, have kept records of their final days.
Since the discovery of mummies in the 1990s, researchers have been working to uncover the past of ancient children and have uncovered shocking facts.
An international team of researchers found traces of the substance in their hair and nails, indicating high doses of hallucinogenic substances.
Taken in the context of historical knowledge of ancient Inca culture, it is possible that these ill-fated victims of the capacocha ritual were intoxicated with stimulants, antidepressants, and sometimes alcohol.
While it is difficult to know what emotions the children were feeling, whether they were proud or scared, the researchers believe that the use of hallucinogens could be used to alleviate the children’s depressive states.
The remains were among a small number of mummies discovered by American explorer Johan Reinhard and Peruvian archaeologist José Antonio Chavez during their expeditions to the Ampato volcano in the Andes in 1995.
Only in 2019, the bodies, along with a third found on the same plateau, were subjected to a thorough examination, which concluded that two of them were probably male and the third was female. All three were 6 or 7 years old.
One of them showed signs of a malformation in the opening of one of his neck bones, putting him at risk for headaches, sudden loss of consciousness, and even blindness.
Similar remains have been found in varying states of preservation throughout that testify to the widespread ritual killings in the ancient Inca culture to appease and appeal to the deities for help and favor.
Signs of drug use have been found earlier in other remains, indicating consumption of coca leaves and alcohol.
Coca leaves have been chewed for thousands of years to reduce hunger and stimulate the nervous system, which would be inappropriate even for children going on a difficult hike in the mountains.
In some cases, children have been found with leaves in their mouths in the moments leading up to their death.
By bringing together scraps of evidence noted by the Spanish colonialists or left in archeology, and combining them with artifacts preserved in the chemical composition of mummies, scientists came to such chilling conclusions.
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