Archaeologists, led by Sara Juengst of the University of North Carolina, were baffled to find two infants buried in a grave 2,100 years ago in Ecuador wearing the skulls of other dead children as helmets.
The team recently published their findings in the Journal of Antiquity outlining the finding. This is the only known case of children being buried in such a way and scientists have no idea how any of the children died.
The team believes the heads of the dead children were probably placed over the top of the living children while the skulls still had flesh on them. There was also a bone wedged between the skull and the head of the living child in one case.
There is evidence that there was a major volcanic eruption in the area around that time and the burials were all covered in ash. The childrens’ bones showed signs of malnutrition.
South America is also home of early cultures which deformed the skulls of infants to shape them into certain patterns.
The Paracas culture of neighboring Peru deformed skulls as early as 800 BC. It is not known why they were so interested in deforming skulls but the practice has also been found in ancient Asia and was even described by Greek historians of peoples in other areas. These are also the skulls that are famous for resembling the heads of aliens.