Peruvian mummy at least 800 years old found by archeologists in Lima

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Researchers from the National University of San Marcos found the preserved body underground in the middle of a town square at the archeological site of Cajamarquilla, about 25 kilometers inland from Lima.

The mummy was tied with ropes and her hands covered her face, a southern Peruvian funeral custom the researchers say. The age of the mummy means that it dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and even predates the Inca civilization, which founded the most famous citadel of Machu Picchu, Peru, in the 15th century.
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“The discovery of this inhabitant sheds a new light on interactions and relationships in pre-Hispanic times,” said Peter Van Delen Luna, one of the archaeologists who led the excavations.

He told Granthshala that the mummy was a young man between the ages of 25 and 30 who had come from the mountains to Cajamarquilla, a bustling commercial center in the pre-Columbian era.


Excavation work began in mid-October with a team of 40 people led by van Delon Luna and fellow archaeologist Yomira Huaman Santillon, and the discovery came as a surprise because they were not searching for a mummy.

“The whole team was really happy because we didn’t think that was going to happen,” Huaman told Granthshala. “We didn’t expect to make such an important discovery.”

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Another unexpected discovery were several marine mollusks outside the mummy’s grave, which Van Delen Luna said is unusual because Cajamarquilla is about 25 kilometers from the coast.

“After the body is placed in the tomb, there are constant incidents and activities,” said van Dalen Luna. “That is, their descendants keep coming back for many years and placing food and offerings there, including mollusks.”

Lama bones were also found outside the tomb, and Van Dalen Luna states that it was commonly eaten by the people of the time and therefore pieces of lama’s meat would have been offered to the deceased.

Ancient mummies are paraded through the streets of Cairo

The circumstances of the discovery led the researchers to conclude that it was not an ordinary citizen, but an important figure in contemporary society.

“The fact of finding a mummy with these characteristics in the middle of the plaza makes it clear that it is a person of high status,” Van Delen Luna said, adding that, among other options, the person in question could have been a prominent trader.

The team will now conduct more specific analysis, including carbon dating, that will allow them to deduce the length of time during which the individual lived and give more information about their identity.

Several mummies have previously been found in Peru and neighboring Chile, many of which are over 1,000 years old.


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