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The cemetery is about 1,000 years old and the skulls were studied in more detail in 2012. (Cristina García / INAH)

What Became of the Coneheads?


Throughout history, many cultures have artificially deformed the skulls of babies in order to achieve a flattened or elongated shape which was often associated with the ruling, or elite classes. Examples of artificial cranial deformation have been uncovered in Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Russia and the Americas in ancient times, as well as Oceanic and African tribes in modern times. When examined, most of these skulls exhibit features common to modern skulls, such as 3 cranial plates and sutures as well as a brain size of around 1200-1400 ccm.

On the other hand, some of the large elongated skulls unearthed from a cemetery in Paracas, Peru, possess other anomalous anatomical features such only 2 cranial plates and sutures, as well as a brain capacity of over 1500 cm, which is larger than many skulls today. These skulls, which are between 1500 and 3000 years old, have been described by some alternative researchers as evidence of extra-terrestrial aliens. While recent DNA results indicate they are entirely human, their genetic origin has yielded surprising results.

A case of skulls from the Andean Paracas culture, as seen in the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú in Lima. (CC BY SA 3.0 )

A case of skulls from the Andean Paracas culture, as seen in the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú in Lima. (CC BY SA 3.0 )


Cone headed/elongated (dolichocephalic) skulls were first mentioned in 1851 in the book ‘Peruvian Antiquities’ by Mariano Rivero and John James von Tschudi. Dr. Tschudi, with credentials in philosophy, medicine and surgery, described dolichocephalism in two distinct Peruvian races which existed before the Incas; the Aymares and Huancas. The Huancas had the most pronounced dolichocephalic traits, although Tschudi had little historical data on them. The Aymares had intermediate dolichocephaly.

Even at that time scientists, influenced by Samuel Morton who had a huge collection of Amerindian skulls, were proclaiming that the skulls had been artificially elongated by head binding, a belief which remains the dominant paradigm encompassing the Paracas skulls, the Australian Kow Swamp 5 and Cohuna skulls and dozens of crania from Europe. However, as far back as 1851 Dr. Tschudi observed, “Two crania (both of children scarcely a year old), had in all respects, the same form as those of adults. We ourselves have observed the same fact in many mummies of children of tender age…The same formation of the head presents itself in children yet unborn, and of this truth we have had convincing proof in sight of a foetus enclosed in the womb of a mummy of a pregnant woman…aged 7 months!”

Possible methods used by the Collagua people to shape a child's head. (Public Domain)

Possible methods used by the Collagua people to shape a child's head. (Public Domain)

Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello excavated a large and elaborate graveyard on the Paracas peninsula from 1922 to 1925, and discovered family tombs containing 429 mummies which were individually wrapped in coloured woven cloth. At least 90 of these bodies exhibited large, elongated skulls, some larger than modern skulls!

These extraordinary skulls remained relatively unknown to the world until filmmaker Robert Connolly produced a CD of them in 1995 titled ‘The Search for Ancient Wisdom.’ Researcher Lumir Janku studied these photos of the anomalous skulls and divided them into 3 types; pre-modern, Conehead 1,2 and 3 and a large skull he named the ‘J’ skull. The ‘pre-modern’ skull has some archaic features such as pronounced brow ridges, a robust lower jaw and an occipital ridge on the bottom back of the skull. Its massive cranial arch, to Janku, suggests “that the skull belongs to a representative of an unknown premodern or humanoid type.” However, this classification creates problems because pre-modern hominins are not recognised in the ancient Americas by mainstream archaeologists.

His illustration indicates that the brain of the ‘premodern’ was of a similar capacity to modern humans but lacking in developed frontal lobes, despite its extreme elongation.

Proto Nazca deformed skull, c 200-100 BC. (CC BY SA 4.0)

Proto Nazca deformed skull, c 200-100 BC. (CC BY SA 4.0)

The Coneheads, as evidenced from three different specimens, C1, 2 and 3 may have developed from the ‘pre-modern’ type but exhibit a much larger brain. Many also possess a pronounced bump above the frontal lobes. They may have belonged to hominins of a larger stature than modern populations.

Janku also identified a ‘J’ type of skull which has an enormous cranial vault ranging from 2600 ccm to 3200 ccm, and eye sockets which are about 15% larger than in modern populations. Whether he was able to measure these skulls or merely made an educated guess from observing the photos, is unknown.

A “cone-head” type of skull. (Lumir G. Janku)

A “cone-head” type of skull. (Lumir G. Janku)

Ignored by anthropologists who consider all elongated  skulls to be the result of head binding, the phenomenon was highlighted in the 2012 book by researchers David Childress and Brien Foerster, ‘The Enigma of Cranial Deformation.’ Childress and Foerster were careful to avoid sensationalizing the skulls by calling them a separate or alien species, but their research has raised many questions about the origins and purpose of cranial deformation. Their suggestion that an elite race of elongated skull people once roamed the planet would also account for the large number of skulls around the world which were artificially deformed by people who wanted to emulate their ‘gods’.

In 2014, Juan Navarro, owner of the Museo Arequeologico Paracas, which houses 35 unique skulls, allowed a team of researchers led by Brien Foerster and L.A. Mazulli to facilitate preliminary DNA testing of five of them. Initial reports from an unnamed geneticist in Texas claimed that the skulls have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far….a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans…I’m not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree.” Unfortunately, numerous alternative websites proclaimed that the skulls were from aliens or Nephilim, the giants mentioned in the book of Genesis, which negatively impacted the research.

After complaints from archaeologists that the original samples were contaminated, a second round of DNA testing in 2016 involved samples taken from three of the skulls, including an infant. These skulls were dated from 2,000 to 800 years old. The samples, taken from hair and bone powder, were sent to three different labs with no mention of their origin. The results were surprising, showing a strong link between Mesopotamian and Eastern European populations. Three hair samples all showed Haplogroup H2A which is most frequently found in Eastern Europe, while the bone powder from the most elongated skull came back as T2B, which originates in Syria. Many of the Paracas skulls still contain traces of red hair which is not found in South American populations. Foerster exclaimed, “No academics as far as we can tell can explain why some of the skulls that still have hair are red or even blond. The idea that this is from time or bleaching has now been disproven by 2 hair experts. For the ancient Paracas people, at least, they had blonde to reddish hair that is 30% thinner than NATIVE American hair. It is GENETIC!”

He also commented, “We are likely looking at a sub-species of humanity as regards to the Paracas. It seems to be a lot of DNA evidence from extreme eastern Europe and extreme western Asia. More specifically, I’m talking about the area in between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea where ancient elongated skull people lived about 3,000 years ago…It appears that the largest elongated skulls on the planet have been found A in Paracas, Peru and B in the Caucasus area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea.”

Independent ancient researcher and filmmaker, L.A. Marzulli, describes other anomalies of the Paracas skulls.

The foramen magnum “is completely different than a normal human being, it is also smaller, which lends itself to our theory that this is not cradle head boarding, it is genetic.”

Some of the skulls have a pronounced zygomatic arch (cheek bone).

Many skulls have no sagittal suture, a connective tissue joint between the two parietal bones of the skull. However, this fusing of the sagittal suture may be a direct result of head binding or an indication of advanced age of the individuals

They have unusual eye sockets.

Left: Modern skull foramen. Right: L.A Mazulli points out foramen magnum on Paracas skull. (

Left: Modern skull foramen. Right: L.A Mazulli points out foramen magnum on Paracas skull. (


An ancient Mexican burial site near the village of Onavas in Sonora in 1999 has yielded 25 skulls, 13 of which are elongated. Seventeen of the skulls belonged to children and only one was female. The steep angle of the forehead indicates childhood head binding.


Dolichocephalic skulls have also been discovered in some of the earliest Old-World cultures of Malta and Iraq.

Discoveries in the Maltese temple tombs at Tarxien, Ggantja and Hal Saflieni have yielded three classes of skull anomalies. Much of the research on Maltese skulls comes from the Italian writer Adriano Forgione who classified three types:

  1. Highly dolichocephalic, “above all, strange lengthened skull, bigger and more peculiar than the others, lacking of the median knitting or suture, linking bones in the roof of the skull.”
  2. Skulls which were more ‘natural’ in appearance yet “still presented pronounced, natural dolichocephalous’ shapes ‘distinctive of an actual race.’
  3.  Many of the 7,000 skeletons dug out of the Hypogeum exhibit “artificially performed deformities.”

Maltese archaeologists Dr. Mark Mifsud and Anthony Buonanno told Forgione, “They are another race although C14 or DNA exams haven’t yet been performed.”

Forgione complained that the skulls had been removed from display at the Maltese Archaeological Museum of Valletta in 1985. About 15 years later he was given permission when Michael Refalo, the Minister for Tourism, accompanied him to the museum and obtained the director’s cooperation. A few days later the Museum’s archaeologist Mark Anthony Mifsud placed the skulls before Forgione, some with pronounced dolichocephalism. They also lacked a median sagitta which is highly anomalous.

In an article for Atlantis Rising Magazine called ‘Mystery of Malta’s Long-Headed Skulls’, Forgione postulated, “The long head and Drawn features must have given an almost serpent-like appearance, stretching the eyes and skin. Lacking the lower part we can only speculate, but the hypothesis seems plausible.  Such deformities would certainly have created walking problems, forcing him almost to slither! The lack of the cranium’s medium knitting and therefore, the impossibility of the brain’s consistent, radial expansion in the skullcap must have caused terrible agony from infancy.”

Two of Malta’s mysterious skulls, the dolichocephalous (long-headed) one below. (Adriano Forgione)

Two of Malta’s mysterious skulls, the dolichocephalous (long-headed) one below. (Adriano Forgione)

The other skulls also showed anomalies, including mild dolichocephalism, suggesting that a separate race, distinct from the native populations of Malta and Gozo, existed about 5,000 years ago. They also showed signs of trepanning and artificially performed deformations, such as cranial bondage.


In 1933, Max Mallowan excavated Neolithic graves at Tell Arpachiyah in Iraq dated from 4600 BC to 4300 BC (Halaf and Ubaid periods). He reported the discovery of skulls having a “marked degree of deliberate, artificial deformation”, leading to an “elongated skull.”

A 1996 monograph on Mallowan’s discoveries by Stuart Campbell remarked, “Skull deformation at Arpachiyah appears, on current (1995) knowledge, striking…Skull deformation seems to occur with regularity at other sites of this general period over a very wide area…Jericho, Chalcolithic Byblos, Ganj Dareh, and Ali Kesh.”

Dolichocephaloids also appeared in predynastic Egypt and in the art of the New Kingdom Armana period which covered the era of King Akhenaton. Professor Walter Emery excavated Saqqara in the 1930s and discovered amongst other skeletons a dolichocephalic skull larger than the others. He postulated it was from a different ethnic group which wasn’t indigenous to Egypt but had performed priestly and government roles. He associated them with Shemsu Hor, ‘the disciples of Horus’.

Forgione believes that the skulls originated with a race who settled in Mesopotamia about 7,000 years ago. In urbanized centres such as Jarmo, the mother goddesses were represented as divinities with the faces of vipers and lengthened heads. They are also associated with the ‘Nephilim’ of Genesis and eventually settled Egypt in predynastic times. They reached Malta in about 2500 BC and survived a millennium later in the mysterious pharaoh of Akhenaton who was always depicted with an extremely elongated skull.

An elongated skull (gerasimov174 / Adobe Stock)

An elongated skull (gerasimov174 / Adobe Stock)


Numerous elongated skulls have been unearthed in the Caucasus area of Russia, which is significant considering the DNA results of the Paracas skeletons.

Pravda News reported on October 6, 2005, that extremely dolichocephalic heads had been discovered in the Caucasus. The Pyatigorsk skull was found near Kislovodsk and dates from between the 3 rd and 5 th century AD. “Researchers have repeatedly proved that the skulls had been deformed on purpose,” said Dr. Kuznestov. "Ropes or special blocks were tied tightly round the heads of infants, over the temples. The custom went out of fashion by 17th century. The reason behind the deformation phenomenon is still unknown. It is hard to say whether the methods worked effectively or not since nobody ever conducted scientific experiments regarding the binding of the infants' heads.”

In January 2009, it was reported on that extreme dolichocephalic skulls had been dug up in Omsk, Siberia by Russian archaeologists which were dated to 400 AD.

Igor Skandakov, director of the Omsk Museum of History and Culture said that the skulls have marks which could be evidence of artificial deformation of a normal skull. He claimed that the skull was kept away from the public because of its unusual shape which shocked and frightened people.

Archaeologist Alexi Matveyev felt that the deformation was carried out as a status symbol of belonging to the elite of society, or as a way to enhance brain function.  “It’s unlikely that the ancients knew much about neuro-surgery. But it’s possible that somehow they were able to develop exceptional brain capabilities.”

Another elongated skull dated to 300 AD was discovered at a cemetery in Arkaim, in the southern Urals in 2015. It is believed the female belonged to the Sarmati tribe in what is now modern-day Ukraine.

The remains of a one-year old boy with a large elongated skull were found in a Crimean village called Yakovenkovo. According to the Archeology Fund, the grave of the boy dates back to the second century AD.

Top: Yakovenkovo infant (archaeology & arts). Bottom: Kislovodsk skulls. (

Top: Yakovenkovo infant (archaeology & arts). Bottom: Kislovodsk skulls. (

Top: Yakovenkovo infant (archaeology & arts). Bottom: Kislovodsk skulls. (


Various elongated skulls from the early Medieval period have been discovered in Germany and particularly in the Bavarian region. Some, which have been DNA, tested belonged to women from Bulgaria and Romania. Other skulls have been excavated from Dossenheim, Stuttgart, Altenerding and Franconia.                    

An elongated skull found in Germany. (

An elongated skull found in Germany. (


Elongated skulls in the Carpathian region of eastern Europe date from the late Iron Age until early medieval times and were found in both Goths and Huns, as the recreation on the right shows. More than 200 skulls have been found in this region which are probably related to the Hun invasions of the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

An article in JNS ‘Artificially deformed crania from the Hun-Germanic period (5th-6th AD) in north-eastern Hungary’ historical and morphological analysis’ (2014) concludes that the custom spread from east to west in 6 phases up to 4,000 years ago, beginning in Central Asia, before expanding through the Caucasus to the Danube basin in central Europe. From there it split into three distinct regions in France, Germany and Switzerland, and died out in early Medieval times.

What a Hun woman looked like. (Marcel Nyffenegger)

What a Hun woman looked like. (Marcel Nyffenegger)

However, the authors fail to explain why so many groups deliberately deformed their skulls. Nor did they look at the genetic link between the Paracas people and those from the Black Sea area. The implications of large-scale migration from Eurasia to South America via the Persian Gulf in ancient times are huge and threaten to rewrite the history books.


In 2019, scientists announced that a site called Houtaomuga has yielded 25 skeletons dating to between 12,000 to 5,000 years ago. Eleven of these skulls have ‘artificially elongated braincases and flattened bones at the front and back of the head’ according to team members Quanchao Zang and Qian Wang. One of the four males was found in a tomb dating to between 13,000 to 11,000 years ago while another sediment layer with skulls was dated to between 6,300 and 5,000 years ago. A 3-year-old child with an elongated head was also buried with large amounts of pottery and artifacts.

Homo Sapiens Sapiens Paracas?

As more elongated skulls come to light around the world, serious research needs to differentiate the cranially deformed skulls from the genetically dolichocephalic skulls which can be seen in babies and foetuses in the Paracas population. If a new species such as the Denisovans can be assigned on the basis of a finger bone, why have the Paracas people with enormous skulls lacking vital cranial sutures and  displaced foramina magna been ignored by anthropologists?

The designation of a new South American hominin species or subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens paracas would challenge several cherished theories:. 1. There were no pre-Homo sapiens populations in the Americas. 2. No unknown hominin species existed less than 2,000 years ago.

On the other hand, DNA evidence shatters the long-held belief that East Asia was the sole homeland of the earliest migrants to the Americas across the now sunken land bridge of Beringia. Scientists will not only have to trace migration routes from Eurasia to the Americas during the ice age, but consider the possibility that such migrations were occurring well into the common era.

Rivero and Tschudi's fetus with naturally elongated head from their 1851 "Antigüedades peruanas". (Public Domain)

Rivero and Tschudi's fetus with naturally elongated head from their 1851 "Antigüedades peruanas". (Public Domain)

Top Image: The cemetery is about 1,000 years old and the skulls were studied in more detail in 2012. (Cristina García / INAH)

By Karen Mutton

This article is an extract from ‘Scattered Skeletons’ the updated version of Scattered Skeletons In Our Closet’ by Karen Mutton, and is available on email request from [email protected].


‘Alien Skulls? Skulls from Ica, Peru and Merida, Mexico;’ Lumir Janku;

Peruvian antiquities’, Johann Jakob von Tschudi and Mariano Eduardo de Rivero y Ustáriz’ translation by Francis L Hawkes, A.S. Barnes & Co., Cincinnati, 1855

‘The Mystery of Malta’s Long-Headed Skulls;’ Adriano Forgione; ‘Atlantis Rising Magazine’ #43;

Ancient Origins;’ ‘New DNA Testing on 2,000-year-old elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History;’ April Holloway; July 23, 2016’;

Express’; ‘Alien skulls? Shock verdict after DNA tests reveal where elongated heads came from,’ Jon Austin, Feb 13, 2018;

Digital Journal, Feb 28, 2009;

‘Science News,’ ‘East Asians may have been reshaping their skulls 12,000 years ago,’ Bruce Bower, July 3, 2019,



Pete Wagner's picture

Could have merely been common torture practice of a conquered, subjugated people, who had larger heads than a jealous, evil invader.  No mother would want that done to her child.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Cranial binding only distorts the skull, it cannot increase capacity, and some of these skulls definitely have larger-than-normal cranial capacity.

Ed Hanson

Wow great reading your app

Daniela Giordano's picture

Very good article. More dissemination would be needed 


Christopher Barnhouse's picture

Good article, but didn't really address the title...


Karen Mutton's picture


I am a retired high school teacher of Ancient History and English with a BA Dip Ed, (Sydney University) with majors in English/History and a minor in Physical Anthropology. Since leaving teaching to raise my family, I have authored 5... Read More

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