Archaeologists have discovered a collection of elongated human skulls at an ancient burial site in Sonora, Mexico, believed to be nearly 1,000 years old. The skulls, it appears, were intentionally deformed during childhood.
Binding young children’s heads and causing the bones to develop and grow in an elongated manner was a common practice in ancient times. The results resemble the classic image of aliens as represented in countless Hollywood films.
The burial site in Mexico yielded 25 sets of human remains, 13 of which had deformed craniums and five dental mutilations. In addition, of the 25, 17 were children between five months and 16 years of age.
“Cranial deformation has been used by different societies in the world as a ritual practice, or for distinction of status within a group or to distinguish between social groups,” Cristina Garcia Moreno, with the Arizona State University, explained.
Moreno says that people commonly suggest that the skulls look like those of aliens. However he assures everyone that they do in fact belong to ancient humans not ancient aliens.
Artificial cranial deformation, head flattening, or head binding is a form of 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. Flat shapes, elongated ones (produced by binding between two pieces of wood), rounded ones (binding in cloth) and conical ones are among those chosen. It is typically carried out on an infant, as the skull is most pliable at this time. In a typical case, head binding begins approximately a month after birth and continues for about six months.