An intriguing new discovery in Peru shows ritually sacrificed guinea pigs were decorated with colourful earrings and necklaces by 16th-century Incas – a finding that comes as a complete surprise to archaeologists.

The Incas constructed several administrative centres in the area, Tambo Viejo being one of them.

As such, the 100 guinea pigs at Tambo Viejo “represent the single largest find known for the entire former [Inca] territory,” wrote Valdez in the study.

The ritual killings happened around 400 years ago, some two centuries after the arrival of Europeans to the New World.

The more remarkable aspect of the discovery, however, has to do with something scholars of Inca history have never seen before.

The guinea pigs found at the site were decorated with earrings and necklaces made from colourful string.

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