June 19, 2007—In an Inca cemetery outside Lima, Peru, a team led by Peruvian archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Guillermo Cock has uncovered the skeleton of the man they believe is the first documented gunshot victim in the Americas.
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Since they began digging in 2004, the team has excavated about 500 skeletons dating back some 500 years to the Inca civilization. One skull stood out—marked with what appeared to be the entrance wound from a musket ball.
Edges of the hole in the skull were found to be impregnated with fragments of iron, a metal sometimes used for Spanish musket balls. It appears that a musket ball less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) wide punched into the back of the skull and passed through the head, leaving pieces of iron deep inside the bone.
The body is thought to be the first forensically proven casualty of the Spanish conquest.