In DepthArchaeology

Bones record demise of Andean state

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Science  19 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6301, pp. 736-737
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6301.736

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A new study chronicles the collapse of the Wari, the first Andean empire, which controlled most of the Peruvian highlands and coast, integrating disparate cultures and building a network of roads that the Inca would later repurpose for their own empire. Its demise around 1000 C.E. amid a severe drought unleashed centuries of violence and deprivation, according to new research presented last week at the World Congress on Mummy Studies in Lima. The work traces violence and hardship so intense that they left a vivid record in people's bones: skull fractures indicating a surge of nonfatal and fatal head injuries and chemical evidence suggesting widespread starvation.