Archaeologists found a well-preserved mummy dating back around 1,000-800 years in an undergoing tomb, in Cajamarquilla, Peru. The researchers discovered the mummy lying in a fetal position, bound by rope, and covered in a textile — a common practice at the time for those who lived in mountainous areas. The mummy, identified by Live Science as a a male who was between 18 and 22 years, is now being displayed at the National University of San Marco’s museum.
“The main characteristic of the mummy is that the whole body was tied up by ropes and with the hands covering the face, which would be part of the local funeral pattern”, said the archaeologist Pieter Van Dalen Luna, from the State University of San Marco. Van Dalen said that radiocarbon dating will give a more precise chronology regarding the origins of the historic finding.
“Artificially preserved mummies from the Andes don’t look like mummies from Egypt,” said Christopher Heaney, assistant professor of Latin American history at Pennsylvania State University, explaining that Andean mummies were usually arranged in a fetal position and wrapped in layers of leather or cloth to form bundles.
Also found inside the tomb was the skeleton of an Andean guinea pig and what archaeologists believe to be a dog. Traces of corn and other vegetables were found in the burial chamber too. Researchers believe that the mummy may have been the son of a wealthy merchant and that family members would have visited his tomb often after his burial to present him with offerings and honour his memory.
The lost city of Cajamarquilla
According to the researchers, Cajamarquilla was a thriving city located on the right bank of the Rímac river about 25 km (16 miles) inland, and was a place where people from the coastal and mountainous areas of Peru engaged in trade. Peru is home to hundreds of archaeological sites from the diverse cultures that developed before and after the Inca Empire, which dominated the western regions of South America in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Mummification in ancient Andean cultures was a way of honoring their ancestors and preserving the connection between present and past. In a story about Inca mummies, History channel reveals that the most important members of Inca society continued to be treated as living beings after death, thus, providing a powerful link to the gods.