Elongated Skulls Of Paracas: A People And Their World (cont.)
By Brien Foerster
the most amazing finds were the skulls, some enormously elongated.
The scientific name for this is dolichocephally. Most skulls
exhibiting this condition were clearly the result of the practice of
head-binding. And so how was this achieved?
very young child’s skull is pliant at birth, and remains in
this way for months. It is therefore possible, by lashing a rope
around the head, with a board placed at the back of the skull, and
perhaps the front as well, to alter the shape of the head over time.
Many authors state that the time period to perform this shaping was
about 6 months to 3 years, but since the practice is no longer
performed to my knowledge, no one really knows. Examples of this
technique, supposedly last performed on infants in the Congo of
Africa and the Island of Vanuatu in the south Pacific Ocean area
known as Melanesia, well into the 20th
century, have also been found in Egypt, during the Amarna period,
Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Russia, the island of Malta, as well as many
places in Peru and Bolivia, and amongst the Olmecs of Mexico.
you are capable of doing via this technique is to change the shape of
the skull, but not the actual volume; you can alter the shape, but
not the size. However, Tello found several skulls, at least 90 at the
site called Cerro Colorado adjacent to the main graveyard in Paracas,
which had cranial volume larger, and in some cases 2.5 times larger
than a conventional modern human skull. How is this possible? As I
have said, deformation can alter shape, but not the volume of bone
material, and certainly not twice as much.
is therefore obvious that we are dealing with 2 different phenomena;
elongation through binding, and elongation via genetics. The Paracas
skulls are the largest found in the world, but from what root race
stock would they have originated? To suggest that the natural
elongation was the result of hydrocephaly or some other clinical
condition is ridiculous, when one takes into account that again, at
least 90 of them were found by Tello, and no one knows how many are
still under the earth, in private collections, or gathering dust in
museum warehouses in Peru, and beyond. Hydrocephaly would tend to
make the skull expand evenly, making them more round than elongated.
believed that the Paracas were related to the people of the Chavin
culture, who created the famous megalithic site of Chavin de Huantar,
mainly based on the fact that he saw similarities in pottery designs
and motifs, especially feline figures. However, to my knowledge, no
elongated skulls have been found in the area where the Chavin lived,
north of Lima in the Ancash district, so that clearly is not the
answer as to their origins. But, since Tello was the expert and main
archaeologist at Chavin, where he placed an origin date of at least
3000 years ago, he then simply applied this for the Paracas as well,
and no one has dared or bothered to refute his time line until now.