When I was a child I used to tag along with my father on hunting trips and we would sometimes come across Indian ruins. As a child I was amazed that some of the ruins were those of little houses and I couldn’t figure out how adults could live in them until one day my father explained to me that people back then were smaller than people today. Suddenly, the little ruins all made sense to me! Yes it was a “revelation” to me lol 🙂
Bes, the ancient Egyptian dwarf god
What I didn’t know at the time was just how little some of these ancient people actually were. Anthropologist and Author Dr Susan Martinez has written about the little people in one of her books entitled, “The Lost History of the Little People.” This is actually an amazing book for the study of the little people as she covers them all over the world. This brings me to the subject of this post and the little people found in Iran.
Back in August of 2005 a tiny mummified body was unearthed in the ancient Persian village known as “Makunik.” Persia is the name modern Iran used to be called. The discovery caused an international sensation and researchers who examined the mummified remains concluded it was the remains of an adolescent dwarf. But this was not the only thing found because excavations at the site of the village revealed what appeared to be the ruins of an entire town for such little people!
Discovery of the mummy and town came after 2 months of illegal excavation in the historic Gudiz Fort in Kerman Province, Iran. The site is near the Iranian town of Shahdad which dates back to the time of the Sassanid Empire which existed from 224 AD to about 651 AD. The Sassanid Empire was the last Persian Empire before the coming of Islam to Iran/Persia.
Smugglers took the tiny mummified body and attempted to sell it on the black market in German for 3 million dollars. The tiny mummy is about 25 cm tall (9.8 inches). It’s body is still covered in its skin and forensic investigators estimate the tiny individual was between 16-17 years old.
Long before this discovery there were rumors in the area of a lost city of little people. Controversy erupted when some researchers claimed the individual was 5000 years old and did not date to the Sassanid Empire period. And that controversy continues even today. Continue Reading
1877 exaggerated drawing of the Gateway of the Sun by Squier
“Tiahuanaco” is the Spanish spelling for this site and is what I will use in this post. Located in Western Bolivia it was first discovered by the Conquistador Pedro Cieza de Leon who came upon the ruins in 1549 as he was searching for the Inca capital. It’s now believed that Tiahuanaco was inhabited around 1500 BC when it may have been a simple and small farming site. It is also believed that the site became a ceremonial and cosmological center sometime around 300 BC lasting until around 300 AD. Some researchers believe the site was a place of pilgrimage and achieved an important place before the Tiwanaku people began to expand their empire.
It’s most likely that since the fall of the Tiwanaku this site has been looted and destroyed by locals and others. For example the locals took stones from the site to use in their own building and wall construction. The railroad used material from the site to build their railroads. And the military used to use the site for target practice! The result was that no standing buildings survived at the site and all that remains are the foundations that now form the foot of reconstructed walls in modern times! Further, buildings originally at the site appear to have been used for different purposes over time and this explains why there is a mix of artifacts today.
Photo of the Gate of the Sun at Tiahuanaco before it was cemented back together.
Back in the 1960’s the Bolivian government launched an effort to “restore” the site and “reconstruct” at least parts of it. One of these “restorations” involved reconstructing the wall around the temple (Kalasasaya). It is believed that the original wall stones resembled a Stonehenge style meaning the stones stood upright and were evenly spaced apart. The reconstruction of the wall, however, was NOT based on research nor is the modern wall of high quality stonework. Additionally, the famous Gateway of the Sun which is now within the Kalasasaya compound was MOVED there and, thus, is NOT in its original position! Also, the Gateway of the Sun was cemented back together after it was split apparently by an earthquake. Continue Reading
A few days ago Ancient Origins (see link below for story) published an article about a mummified skull of a newborn having been discovered in Peru and that this skull is unusual because it is elongated. So does this prove that the Paracas skulls were born that way and not manipulated as part of some sort of cultural tradition?
The Paracas culture lived in the Andes Mountains of Peru between 800-100 BCE. It appears that they had a rather extensive knowledge in water management and irrigation. This area is the Ica region of Peru and most of our information about the Paracas people comes from excavations at a seaside site on the Paracas Peninsula that was first excavated by Julio Tello a Peruvian archaeologist in the 1920’s.
Most researchers believe that the Paracas engaged in what is known as “artificial cranial deformation” (head flattening, head binding) which results in the elongation of the skull. It is achieved by distorting the growth of a child’s skull by applying force via binding to the young skull. This practice typically begins when the child is an infant as the infant’s skull is pliable and can be rather easily shaped and manipulated. It would begin at birth and continue for about 6 months or so. Most researchers believe that the Paracas Skulls are the result of intention head binding and manipulating the skeleton is more common that you might think. For instance, in China young girls had their feet broken and bound to achieve small feet as they grew older. Some Native America tribes used cradle boards which resulted in the flattening of the back of the skull in an infant. Thus, it would not have been unusual for the Paracas people to have intentionally manipulated the infant skull to achieve an elongated, flattened, rounded, or conical skull shape. Perhaps it was done for religious reasons. Perhaps it was done as a mark of nobility. Perhaps it was done for beauty!
It has been suggested that these skulls are elongated (or otherly shaped) because they are not human skulls at all but alien or alien-human hybrids. Is there evidence to support this assertion? Let’s take a further look at the Paracas Skulls and Paracas Culture. Continue Reading