The secret of the durability of the paint, which was used by the ancestors of the Incas to "resurrect" the dead, has been revealed

Thirty years ago, archaeologists unearthed the grave of a noble person about 40-50 years old. He was

a representative of the Sican culture of Peru, society,preceding the Incas. The man's skeleton, like the golden mask covering his skull torn from the body, was painted in a bright red paint. A study published in the ACS Journal of Proteome Research found that in addition to the red pigment, it contains proteins from human blood and bird eggs.

The Sikan culture is one of the many blank spots inhistory of South America. It existed from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries along the northern coast of present-day Peru. During the Middle Sikan period (circa 900-1100 AD), its representatives created many gold objects, many of which were buried in the tombs of the elite class.


In the early 1990s, a group of archaeologists and restorersled by Izumi, Shimada excavated the tomb where the skeleton of an elite man was found in a sitting position. It was colored red and was upside down in the center of the cell. Nearby were the skeletons of two young women in birthing positions, and the skeletons of two squatting children were placed at a higher level.

Among the many gold artifacts found inthe tomb, there was also a red-painted gold mask that covered the severed skull of a man. At the time, scientists identified the red pigment in the paint as cinnabar, but Luciana de Costa Carvalho, James McCallagh and his colleagues decided to find out what exactly the Sican people used in the paint as a binder that held the paint layer on the metal surface of the mask for thousands of years.

Researchers analyzed a small samplered paint with a mask. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that the sample contained proteins. Scientists performed proteomic analysis using tandem mass spectrometry. They identified six proteins in human blood, including serum albumin and immunoglobulin G (a type of human serum antibody). Other proteins, such as egg albumin, are derived from egg whites. Because the proteins are highly decomposed, the researchers were unable to pinpoint the exact type of bird egg the paint was made from. But most likely they belonged to a musk duck.

Protein identification supports the hypothesis thatthat the blood-containing paint, which covered the human skeleton and his face mask, was supposed to symbolize the "resurrection" of the deceased and his "vitality." Also, the location of the skeletons, like the entire rite, is associated with the desire to bring a deceased person back to life.

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Izumi Shimada is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. World famous scientist.

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and diffuse reflection (DRIFTS) is a speciala reflection sampling technique that collects high quality spectra of solid samples that are very difficult to analyze with transmission, such as soil or concrete.

Proteomics is the field of molecular biology dedicated to the identification and quantitative analysis of proteins.

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