Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nuclear Analysis Reveals Secrets Of Inca Burial Site

Date:
March 29, 2005
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
Researchers have applied a unique nuclear analytic technique to pottery found at an ancient burial site high in the Andes mountains, and believe that the girl buried at this site was transported more than 600 miles in a ceremonial pilgrimage - revealing some customs and rituals of the ancient Inca empire.

CORVALLIS - Researchers have applied a unique nuclear analytic technique to pottery found at an ancient burial site high in the Andes mountains, and believe that the girl buried at this site was transported more than 600 miles in a ceremonial pilgrimage - revealing some customs and rituals of the ancient Inca empire.

Related Articles


The findings are being published by scientists from Oregon State University in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

On the highest peaks of the Andes, sacrificial burial sites have been discovered since the early 1900s. In one of them was the fully intact, frozen body of a girl who was sacrificed at age 15, called "The Ice Maiden," and buried more than five centuries ago along with various vessels - in what appeared to be one of the ritualistic ceremonies of that era.

"We examined the pottery, but not by comparing styles of vessels," said Leah Minc, coordinator of this research at the OSU Radiation Center. "We are using the sensitive, high precision technology of instrumental neutron activation analysis to learn about raw materials in artifacts.

"This provides a different part of the story than that obtained from DNA sampling of human remains," she added.

According to Minc, whose doctorate is in archaeology, the geochemical signature from the raw materials indicated the vessels were manufactured far away from the burial site, in the Inca capital.

The study offers insights into the origins of the children who were sacrificed in a key state ceremony called capacocha. This provides information about how imperial Inca statecraft linked the empire by sending representatives to remote mountaintops to perform religious rituals.

From samples of the pottery, this analytical technique created a series of radioisotopes and monitored their decay. It characterized trace elements, which scientists could then scientifically compare to those in ancient artifacts from other regions, as well as to pottery from contemporary sites in central Peru and northern Chile.

Neutron activation analysis is one of the advanced capabilities of the OSU Radiation Center's research reactor. Minc has helped OSU apply this technology to archaeological studies. "Archaeometry" can help unlock mysteries including the diet of prehistoric populations, from bone chemistry, and the authentic or fake status of an "ancient" artifact, researchers say.

The technology has regularly been used for research in engineering, medicine, nutrition, forestry, and geology.

OSU's Radiation Center is a leading facility in the use of ionizing radiation and radioactive materials. It serves institutions around the world, on everything from feasibility studies of experiments to safety evaluations, emergency response, and radioactive waste disposal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Nuclear Analysis Reveals Secrets Of Inca Burial Site." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050328184717.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2005, March 29). Nuclear Analysis Reveals Secrets Of Inca Burial Site. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050328184717.htm
Oregon State University. "Nuclear Analysis Reveals Secrets Of Inca Burial Site." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050328184717.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins