Museo Ritos Andinos (Andean Rites Museum) – Andahuaylillas, Peru - Atlas Obscura

Museo Ritos Andinos (Andean Rites Museum)

Andahuaylillas, Peru

In this tiny museum, an unusually-shaped skull that some claim as evidence of extraterrestrials. 


In the 1920s, while working in Paracas, the Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello uncovered the remains of hundreds of skulls with a curious feature: they were much longer than a typical human skull, almost cone-shaped. These unusual skulls have been the subject of much study and speculation—some even believe that they are evidence of extraterrestrial visitors.

Renato Davila Riquelme has dedicated his career to discovering physical evidence of extraterrestrial life on earth, including signs of alien technology and biological proof of the Wayqui, otherwise known in pop culture as the “grays.” (Grays are the traditional depiction of aliens we envision: think Roswell, the famous case of Betty and Barney Hill, and comedic depictions of aliens on television.) Riquelme has amassed stories of “technology leaps” at sites throughout South America that he ascribes to alien intervention. He also collects art that he believes represents alien interactions with humankind.

In the province of Quispicanchi, east of Cusco, Riquelme located 10 grave sites on the sacred mountain of Wiracochan Apu, where he recovered several complete skeletons with elongated skulls. Local legend says this area is the meeting place between the sky gods and humans. For Riquelme, that was proof of alien presence.

Anthropologists who study the region and its history would disagree. The elongated skulls found in Paracas and elsewhere in Peru are human remains that have taken on their atypical shape through intentional cranial deformation. The Collagua were an ethnic group who lived in southern Peru’s Colca Valley long before the Inca arrived in that area. Studies have shown that head-shaping was common among the Collagua, especially its more prominent members.

Wanting to share his theories with the public, Riquelme set up a display in the Museo Ritos Andinos (Andean Rites Museum) in the town of Andahuaylillas, southeast of Cusco. The tiny museum is housed in a colonial villa off the town square. Riquelme has amassed several displays, artifacts, and “alien skeletons” in the positions they were discovered. No matter what you think of the theory of aliens visiting Earth, looking at these unusual skulls is a fascinating glimpse into history.

Know Before You Go

The Museo Ritos Andinos is in a crafts shopping building on the western corner of Plaza de Armas Andahuaylillas, opposite St. Peters and the Apostles Church. Renato Davila Riquelme often opens the museum if he is not out on a dig. The best way to see if it is open is to contact him via his Facebook page.

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