Wednesday, June 20, 2007

First gun-shot victim found

The musket blast was sudden and deadly, the killing nearly 500 years ago of what may have been the first gunshot victim in the Western Hemisphere. "We didn't expect it. We saw this skull and saw the almost round hole and thought people must have been shooting around here recently," said Guillermo Cock, an archaeologist who found the remains near Lima, Peru.

But he realized that the skull was ancient, and a recent bullet strike would simply have shattered it, Cock said in a telephone interview. The skull was found among a large group of bones of ancient Incas, who had died violently in the early 1500s as the Spanish Conquistadors battled the native empire. The bones were in shallow graves, leading the archaeologist to speculate the burials were done hurriedly during conflict, perhaps an uprising against the Spanish in 1536. To be sure this was a gunshot wound — making it the earliest one documented in the Americas — the skull was studied by forensics expert Tim Palmbach at the University of New Haven, who brought in other experts.

Also covered on the Washington Post
Five excellent photos are also vailable at the following link on the Washington Post website: Victims of Peruvian Seige Found

Also on the National Geographic website, also with a photograph gallery of the skull.