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Incan History Illuminated

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Published Jun 21, 2007 9:02 AM


Discovery by UCLA archaeology alumnus sheds new light on the Conquistadors

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The discovery by a UCLA alumnus of what has been identified as the earliest documented gunshot victim in the Americas has opened the door to a better understanding of Peruvian history.

Archaeologist Guillermo Cock, C.P.H. '89, M.A. '85 of Peru's National Institute of Culture found evidence of a gunshot wound in an Incan warrior. The warrior's body was among 72 Cock found in a cemetery in Puruchuco, Peru. All of them appeared to have been slaughtered by Spanish Conquistadors in 1536 in the aftermath of a battle known as the siege of Lima.

The find presents a picture of indigenous people slaughtered by Europeans with advanced weaponry. Written records of the battle portray the Spaniards in a more heroic light, contradicted by this new evidence.

Cock's discovery was announced by the National Geographic Society and was featured in a PBS NOVA special, “The Great Inca Rebellion.” For details, see PBS online.

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