Chemical analysis reveals information about society of Wari women

Archaeologists conducted chemical analysis on 1200-years-old remains of females from a tomb dating to the the pre-Incan Wari empire, revealing they could have been local to the area.

Archaeologists examining the remains (by Miłosz Giersz)

The grave was discovered by Polish archaeologists  in Huarmey, Peru in 2012 – an area considered as outskirts of the Wari civilisation. The tomb contained skeletons of 64 individuals, of which most belonged to women. They were buried with numerous golden, silver and bronze artefacts. Scientists have established that the tomb belongs to the representatives of the Wari civilization buried between 8th-10th century AD. The recent chemical analyses of the content of strontium isotopes in the bones and teeth of the deceased show that the women buried in the tomb that we discovered had been born in the area. According to the researchers the proportion of strontium isotopes in the tooth enamel reflects the proportion of isotopes in the geological substrate of the birthplace of the person and the place in which that person lived for the first few years. That is when the teeth are formed, and the proportion of isotopes in their enamel does not change afterwards. However samples taken from ribs contain the proportion of strontium isotopes changes throughout the person’s life. By comparison of samples from both location researchers can determine whether the deceased had changed their area of residence during their life. The strontium isotope proportion values were the same in both samples – meaning that the deceased were born in the place where they lived.  The women from the tomb possibly were born and raised in Huarmey. Additional DNA analysis revealed that the genetic material of buried women was significantly different from that of the people who lived in the Huarmey area in previous centuries. Judging from these results, the scientists believe that teh remains are of elites of foreign origin. But not in the first generation.

(after Nauka w Polsce & Miłosz Giersz)

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