By Julie Kent
Artificial cranial deformation has been practices as far back as 45,000 BC when it was seen in Neanderthal skulls. It's also been traced back to the Proto-Neolithic Homo sapiens from the 12th millennium BCE. Ritual cranial deformation typically begins just after the birth of a child and over the course of the next few years until the desired shape is reached or the child rejects the apparatus used for modification. The practice was generally done to signify group affiliation or to demonstrate social status.
The recently discovered Peruvian skull has some similarities with skulls from the Andean Paracas culture. These skulls were deformed artificially.
For more on the subject, see Indiana Jones and the Stereotypes of Doom.
Below: "Artificially deformed skulls from the Andean Paracas culture."