Located in present day Bolivia, a team of archaeologists have discovered a mysterious ancient funeral rite which dissolved corpses until reduced only to bone.
the importance of the discovery resides in the fact that the compound known as Qhunqhu Wankani or Qhunqhu Wankani, was founded in the late first century. C. It is one of the smallest ceremonial centers found in the Andes around Lake Titicaca, and predates the founding of the ancient city of Tiwanaku. According to archaeologists at its peak, Qhunqhu Wankani occupied around seven acres, where researchers have found at least three sunken temples, huge platforms, a central plaza and several circular houses. The expedition was led by Scott Smith, and an archaeological team from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, which performed excavations inside these structures in search of household utensils. However, they found a set of highly surprising elements.
After several years of digging, they found more than 970 skeletal remains, mostly small pieces of feet, hands, teeth and knees, corresponding to 25 different people. Among the remains, archaeologists have also discovered several ceramic vessels and bone tools made form the remains of llamas, these appeared to be covered by a thin layer of plaster. To add to the surprise, archaeologists found small limestone blocks, which laboratory analysis helped identify as calcium oxide or quicklime; the discovery raised several questions and most importantly: what was their use?
By mixing calcium oxide and hot water a highly caustic and alkaline liquid is obtained. According to experts, this substance “can be used as a solvent to remove tissue from the bone”, which led scholars to conclude that this ancient civilization processed corpses in the rooms found at Qhunqhu Wankani. It is likely that they heated up the mixture of water and quicklime in the vessels and then dismantled and cleaned the bones of their dead.
The presence traces of red pigment suggests that, after cleaning, the bones were painted as part of the ritual treatment. A recent analysis of isotopes, performed on skeletal remains, found that people whose bones were processed there did not belong to the local ethnic group. This is one of the most mysterious issues of the discovery; why the ancient people from Qhunqhu Wankani dissolved the remains of people who were strangers to the region. Better yet, why would anyone travel to Qhunqhu Wankani to undergo this mysterious ritual.
The Tiahuanaco connection
Why ancient people traveled to Qhunqhu Wankani and from where they actually came is something that will be researched in the coming years. We cannot omit the fact that at Tiahuanaco, specifically at the Subterranean Temple archeologists have made incredible discoveries that have questioned the purpose of the temple. It’s said that there are all the races of mankind represented here, even elongated skulls, people wearing turbans, people with broad noses, people with thin noses, people with thick lips, people with thin lips, and some of the statues are particularly unusual They don’t seem to represent the local people. They seem to represent every type and shape of human head existing on the planet. Two of them, which are very intriguing, are white in color, and they look very much like grey alien heads.
At this point it is unclear what connection the ritual site of Qhunqhu Wankani has with Tiahuanaco,the wall of the faces depicting people from across the globe, and the people that did not belong to the ethnic groups of the region that were submitted to the mysterious rituals at Qhunqhu Wankani.