If you’ve been too busy binge-watching Disney+ to check out this quarter’s Latin American Antiquity, you haven’t seen one of the wilder studies we’ve seen in a while.
“Unique Infant Mortuary Ritual at Salango, Ecuador, 100 BC” is a title that undersells its subject. The study details excavations led by Richard Lunniss of the Universidad Tecnica de Manabi at “a ritual complex on the central coast of Ecuador,” specifically two burial mounds from about 2,100 years ago. Among the 11 identified burials, two were infants wearing “‘helmets’ made from the cranial vaults of other juveniles.”
Translation: they were infants wearing the skulls of other kids, one of the most metal things any archaeological dig has ever uncovered. Whoa.
Here’s what else we know about these kids, who were literally wearing skulls as hats when they were discovered. No trauma was recorded for either infant, one of which was around 18 months and the other six to nine months old. The ages of the kids the “helmets” came from were a bit greater, between two and 12 years old, presumably because a skull you wear as a helmet has to be bigger than your own.
Read more: Fatherly