Stories tagged Incas

Sep
16
2011

Here on good ol' Planet Earth, the human population is growing and boy are folks hungry. By 2050, there should be 9 billion of us running around, but Earth isn't getting any bigger and we probably don't want to try farming on the moon. On the Buzz, we've read about some plants that have been modified to resist drought and tough climates, but what about the wisdom of the ancient Andeans?

The Andes: Just in case you didn't know what they look like. Kinda gorgeous, eh?
The Andes: Just in case you didn't know what they look like. Kinda gorgeous, eh?Courtesy David Almeida

No, no, not that wisdom, delicious as it is. I'm talking about Andean farmers. These guys are reviving tough heirloom potatoes, clever terraces, and Incan irrigation systems. The species and systems had been used for thousands of years, and were probably adapted to the uncertainties of agriculture in the high mountains.

But when Spaniards showed up a few centuries ago with their own methods, traditional ways slowly fell out of use even though they were better suited to the region's need. Now that farmers are rediscovering the benefits of these ancient traditions, they're hoping these methods can help hungry folks in other parts of the world, too. Now that's a wisdom I can sink my teeth into!

Jun
20
2007

Ouch: This clean hole to the skull was made by a gunshot to the head of an Inca battling Spanish explorers some 500 years ago in what it today's Peru.
Ouch: This clean hole to the skull was made by a gunshot to the head of an Inca battling Spanish explorers some 500 years ago in what it today's Peru.
The National Rifle Association will probably object to these findings, but a oldest known shooting victim in the Western Hemisphere was recently found in Peru.

Archeologists near Lima found a skull with a clean, neat hole in the skull while excavating a pile of bones. It’s believed that the shot was fired some 500 years ago. They’re ruling out a recent gun shot striking the bones, since a blast from a gun today would have shattered the aging skull bones.

And the story adds up to the victim being hurt from a shooting. The bones of the excavation are from the early 1500s on ancient Incas who were massacred by Spanish conquistadors.

So how can the researchers be so sure it was a gun shot? New technology helped dig up the old story.

A scanning electronic microscope was used to analyze the hole. It found fragments of a musket ball embedded into the bone around the hole.

In total, the archeologists have found the remains of 72 Incas in the area and all show signs of violent injuries, suggesting that a large battle took place between the native people and the European explores.