South American intentional cranial vault modification styles and implements
Source: Boards and Cords: Discriminating Types of Artificial Cranial Deformation in Prehispanic South Central Andean Populations T.G. O’Brien and A.M. Stanley 2011
From Peru This Week
By Rachel Chase
Why you should be skeptical of the recent genetic testing done on the Paracas skulls— and it’s not for the reason you might think.
Last week I kept seeing articles about the DNA test results of the Paracas skulls on supposedly reputable sites. So I was happy to read this article by Rachel Chase, who does a great job of giving some background on all the players involved and explains why the results should be called into question (besides the obvious.)
so on top of all of the other end-of-semester madness i am working on a 20-page research paper on cranial vault modification in precolumbian central and south america (because i am an enormous dork and that’s what i chose)
and i just need you all to look at this skull with annular vault modification from bolivia because damn
really cool for lots of anthropological reasons but also just from an osteology/ skeletal biology/ developmental perspective just look at that freaking skull
- by R.H. Khonsari, M. Friess, J. Nysjo, G. Odri, F. Malmberg, I. Nystrom, E. Messo, J.M. Hirsch, E.A.M. Cabanis, K.H. Kunzelmann, J.M. Salagnac, P. Corre, A. Ohazama, P.T. Sharpe, P. Charlier, and R. Olszewski
“Intentional cranial deformations (ICD) have been observed worldwide but are especially prevalent in preColombian cultures. The purpose of this study was to assess the consequences of ICD on three cranial cavities (intracranial cavity, orbits, and maxillary sinuses) and on cranial vault thickness, in order to screen for morphological changes due to the external constraints exerted by the deformation device. We acquired CT-scans for 39 deformed and 19 control skulls. We studied the thickness of the skull vault using qualitative and quantitative methods. We computed the volumes of the orbits, of the maxillary sinuses, and of the intracranial cavity using haptic-aided semi-automatic segmentation. We ﬁnally deﬁned 3D distances and angles within orbits and maxillary sinuses based on 27 anatomical landmarks and measured these features on the 58 skulls. Our results show speciﬁc bone thickness patterns in some types of ICD, with localized thinning in regions subjected to increased pressure and thickening in other regions. Our ﬁndings conﬁrm that volumes of the cranial cavities are not affected by ICDs but that the shapes of the orbits and of the maxillary sinuses are modiﬁed in circumferential deformations. We conclude that ICDs can modify the shape of the cranial cavities and the thickness of their walls but conserve their volumes. These results provide new insights into the morphological effects associated with ICDs and call for similar investigations in subjects with deformational plagiocephalies and craniosynostoses (read more).
***Not really my thing, but I know some of you kids dig this sorta thing. Enjoy!
(Source: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, in press 2013)
Oh! I’ve just been doing my own little research project on skull modification. Excellent!
Archaeologists in Mexico have revealed the astonishing skull of a person with cranial disfiguration. Believed to be 1,000 years old, the find was made near the small Mexican village of Onavas. The find is believed to be the first in the region showing the practice of binding a skull to change its shape. Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures was used to differentiate one social group from another and for ritual purposes.
I wouldn’t exactly call is cranial deformation, although I know it’s a term that is often used. Deformation implies a natural, unintended change to the expected form of the cranial vault. The term cranial vault modification refers usually to cultural remodelling of an infant’s cranial vault (forehead and back of head) to purposely shape the head as the cranial bones ossify. idk this some pretty sweet body mod~
Some artificial cranial deformation in a PNG individual. This fellow had parallo-fronto-occipital modification, meaning that his skull was squished by binding the infant head with cloth and boards to create the elongate shape. #skeletalanalysis #physicalanthropology #osteology #skull #cranialmodification
Examples of an elongated skull.
I think I have posted elongated skulls before, they are beautifully rare and if you find one snatch it up! Their worth quite a bit of money. I wonder if the elongation process effects natural brain functions.
Not really odd or gory, I just think elongated skulls are pretty cool, rare, and maybe a little odd to some people
Artificial cranial deformation, head flattening, or head binding is a form of permanent body alteration in which the skull of a human being is intentionally deformed. It is done by distorting the normal growth of a child’s skull by applying force, in this case the Mangbetu tribe would use tightly wrapped cloth or raffia around the infants skull.
Incan skull structures
Is this an alien skull? Mystery of giant-headed mummy found in Peru
A mummified elongated skull found in Peru could finally prove the existence of aliens.
The strangely shaped head - almost as big as its 50cm (20in) body - has baffled anthropologists.
It was one of two sets of remains found in the city of Andahuaylillas in the southern province of Quispicanchi.
Another quality piece of journalism from the Daily Fail. This is quite obviously a case of skull modification and not evidence of the existence of aliens. Sorry, folks!
Powered by Osteons has a good article debunking this. Seriously stupid. Any anthropologist who finds this “baffling” is illegitimate. Any UNDERGRAD anthropologist would know what this is, or anyone who takes ANTH 101. Arg, the stupid, it burns.
Dr. Kristina Killgrove is my favourite. Her article on this instance of cranial modification and the ridiculous trumped-up theory of its ~alien origins~ may be read here. Antemortem cranial vault modification to this degree was a commonality in some Andean culture and this is far from the first instance of it archaeology has seen.