Archaeologists unearthed four mummies that could be up to 1,600 years old in Peru's capital Lima, at ruins which apparently house the crypt of a prominent member of the ancient Wari people, researchers said today.

"The first elements were found a week ago as part of a funeral scene (tombs and mummies) of the Wari culture (500-1000 AD) and a shroud was located with a well-preserved mummy next to three more shrouds," researcher Gladys Paz said in a statement.

"It is very likely that the bodies found inside were children who were placed there as an offering, and to accompany the prominent person," she added.

Also part of the scene in Lima, which included decorative textiles, were ceramic containers, reed baskets and corn stalks.

Lima people (100-650 AD) long ago lived in the spot in question, which was later overrun by the Wari people, who turned it into a burial ground.