Elongated Skulls of Peru

Andahuaylillas, Peru

On the route from Cusco to Lake Titicaca in Peru we stopped at the small town of Andahuaylillas to visit the beautiful local church.

Andahuaylillas, Peru

Right next door to the church was an interesting small museum where we saw some examples of elongated skulls. Artificial skull elongation has been practiced by a strangely high number of cultures in practically every corner of the world, from Western Europe and the Americas to the Far East and Africa. The Collagua people who lived in the Colca Valley in south-eastern Peru around 1100 to 1450 CE practised this.


Artificial cranial deformation or modification, head flattening, or head binding is a form of body alteration in which the skull of a human being is deformed intentionally. The scientific name for this is dolichocephally. 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. Typically, it is carried out on an infant, as the skull is most pliable at this time. In a typical case, headbinding begins approximately a month after birth and continues for about six months. One modern theory is cranial deformation was likely performed to signify group affiliation, or to demonstrate social status.

Andahuaylillas, PeruAndahuaylillas, PeruAndahuaylillas, PeruAndahuaylillas, PeruIMG_1285Andahuaylillas, Peru


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