9 August 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

Human blood proteins were found in the red paint on a 1,000-year-old gold mask from Peru

Traces of human blood have been discovered in the red paint that decorated a gold mask found on the remains of an elite man who died 1,000 years ago in the Sicán culture of Peru, a new analysis reveals.

The tomb was discovered in the 1990s, and researchers at the time determined that the red paint was cinnabar, a brick-red type of mercury, but the effective organic binder was unknown – until now.

The Sicán was a prominent culture that existed from the ninth to 14th centuries along the northern coast of modern Peru. The man, who was between 40 and 50 years old at the time of his death, lived during the Sicán that spanned from 750 A.D. to 1375 – an era known for its dazzling array of gold objects, many of which were buried in tombs of the elite class.

Researchers reporting in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research have analyzed the paint, finding that, in addition to a red pigment, it contains human blood and bird egg proteins.

A team of archaeologists and conservators led by Izumi Shimada uncovered a tomb in the early 1990s where an elite man’s sitting skeleton was painted crimson and positioned upside down in the chamber’s center. Two skeletons of young women in childbirth and midwifing stances were put close, while two crouching children’s skeletons were placed at a higher level. A red-painted gold mask, which covered the face of the man’s separated skull, was among the many gold objects discovered in the tomb.

The tomb was originally unearthed in the 1990s and archaeologists at the time concluded the red paint cinnabar, a brick-red form of mercury, but the effective organic binder remained a mystery – until now
The tomb was discovered in the 1990s, and researchers at the time determined that the red paint was cinnabar, a brick-red type of mercury, but the effective organic binder was unknown – until now.

The red pigment in the paint was identified as cinnabar at the time, but Luciana de Costa Carvalho, James McCullagh, and colleagues wondered what the Sicán people had used in the paint mix as a binding material, which had kept the paint layer attached to the metal surface of the mask for 1,000 years.

İzumi Shimada and his colleagues analyzed a small sample of red paint from the mask with the hopes of determining the organic binder.

The scientists discovered six proteins from human blood in the red paint using spectroscopy, a study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation. These proteins included serum albumin and immunoglobulin G. (a type of human serum antibody). Other proteins, including ovalbumin, were derived from egg whites. Since the proteins were so highly degraded, the researchers could not identify the exact species of bird’s egg used to make the paint, but a likely candidate is the Muscovy duck.

The identification of human blood proteins supports the hypothesis that the arrangement of the skeletons was related to a desired “rebirth” of the deceased Sicán leader.

Some believe Sicáns are descended from the Moche civilization, which flourished in the area from 100 A.D. to 700 A.D. The Sicán civilization placed a high value on the burial traditions of the aristocracy, who were frequently buried with magnificent grave goods. Another facet of Sicán funeral ritual that has lately attracted notice is that of human sacrifice – and it was largely women who were slaughtered and buried in men’s graves.

Banner
Related Post

8,000-year-old Yarmukian ‘Mother Goddess’ figurine discovered in Israel

9 July 2022

9 July 2022

An 8,000-year-old Yarmukian Mother Goddess figurine was found at Sha’ar HaGolan archaeological site, located on the northern bank of the...

Lost medieval road thought to have been used by famous Scottish king Robert the Bruce found

27 June 2021

27 June 2021

Excavating a hill considered to have played a critical part in the Battle of Bannockburn, archaeologists discovered a forgotten medieval...

Gladiators’ ancient hygiene tools on exhibit in Izmir

22 July 2021

22 July 2021

Turkey’s Izmir Archaeological Museum is hosting a different exhibition this month. A bronze strigil is the museum’s guest this month...

A Special structure Contemporary to Göbeklitepe found at Gre Fılla Höyük in Eastern Turkey

4 August 2022

4 August 2022

Pit-bottomed structures dating to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period were found at Gre Fılla Höyük (Gre Fılla Mound) in the province...

The ‘extraordinary’ Roman mosaic depicting scenes from Homer’s Iliad unearthed in a Rutland farmer’s field is the first of its kind in England

25 November 2021

25 November 2021

The 1,500-year-old mosaic discovered by a farmer was considered Britain’s “most exciting” Roman find. The artwork was discovered on private...

1,800 Years Old Woman Sculpture in the Ancient City of Metropolis

16 June 2021

16 June 2021

On 12 June, Turkish officials announced the discovery of an 1800-year-old statue of a woman in Izmir. An 1800-year-old statue...

Interesting discovery at Crowland digs, a human poo from the Saxon period or coprolite found

16 August 2021

16 August 2021

Excavations in Abbey Church Field in Crowland, near Peterborough, have also yielded such amazing finds results for archaeologists. The archaeological...

4,000-year-old settlement found during Balasore town India

9 July 2021

9 July 2021

A 4,000-year-old settlement and ancient artifacts have been discovered in the Balasore district, India. The Odisha Institute for Maritime and...

Researchers reveal the 4,500-year-old network of funerary avenues in Arabian Peninsula

15 January 2022

15 January 2022

Archaeologists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) have determined that people living in ancient northwest Arabia built long-distance “funerary...

Hima, a rock art site in Saudi Arabia, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

24 July 2021

24 July 2021

The rock art site Hima in Najran has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, becoming the sixth registered...

Sacred Hill of Moon God Sin “Sogmatar”

23 June 2022

23 June 2022

Sogmatar, Şanlıurfa is 53 kilometers from Harran. It is located in Yağmurlu village, where there are important springs in the...

Ancient Arabic temple art depicts early camel hybrids

29 January 2022

29 January 2022

Evidence of early camel hybrids of dromedary and Bactrian camels has been uncovered by archaeologists who were working to restore...

World-first recreation of ancient Egyptian garden open

20 May 2022

20 May 2022

Have you ever wondered what an ancient Egyptian garden was like?  This is your opportunity to find out! The first...

30 Graves Found in the Basilica-Planned Ancient City

4 April 2021

4 April 2021

Kibyra ancient city is situated south of Turkey, located in the town Gölhisar in the southwestern part of Burdur Province,...

The excavations in Selinunte, Italy, which has the largest Agora in the Ancient World, “The results have gone well beyond expectations”

29 July 2022

29 July 2022

In the Selinunte, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek period in Italy, the outlines of the...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.