Exceptionally rare 1,000-year-old mummy found in Peru

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Archaeologists have discovered a remarkably well-preserved 1,000-year-old mummy in Peru.

A team from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium made the stunning find after nine weeks of excavation at the ancient site of Pachacamac.

“The deceased is still wrapped in the enormous funeral bundle that served as a coffin,” said ULB professor and excavation leader Peter Eeckhout, in a statement. “Discoveries like this one are exceptionally scarce, and this mummy is incredibly well preserved. Samples were collected for carbon-14 dating, but the area in which it was discovered and the type of tomb suggest this individual was buried between 1000 and 1200 AD.”


Working with Christophe Moulherat, a textile specialist at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, the team will use medical imaging technology to examine the mummy. Experts hope that this will shed light on the person’s position in society, any diseases they suffered from, and also reveal any hidden artifacts.

Part of the excavation at Pachacamac (ULB P. Eeckhout)

Part of the excavation at Pachacamac (ULB P. Eeckhout)

The mummy was discovered in an undisturbed funeral chamber within an ancient sanctuary at Pachacamac. Dedicated to local ancestors, the sanctuary appears to have been transformed into a water and healing temple during Inca rule in the late 15th century.

Archaeologists discovered a number of offerings left by worshippers, such as Spondylus shells imported from Ecuador. Associated with the influx of water during El Niño, the shells symbolize fertility and abundance, according to researchers.


A monument intended to host pilgrims and rituals was also excavated at Pachacamac.

Other fascinating, and sometimes chilling, archaeological finds have been made in Peru.

Earlier this year archaeologists in northern Peru said they have found evidence of what could be the world's largest single case of child sacrifice. The pre-Columbian burial site, known as Las Llamas, contains the skeletons of 140 children who were between the ages of five and 14 when they were ritually sacrificed during a ceremony about 550 years ago, according to experts who led the excavation.

Last year, archaeologists harnessed 3-D printing technology to reconstruct the face of an ancient 1,200-year-old Peruvian queen.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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