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1,000-year-old mummy wrapped in huge burial bundle discovered at site of ancient sanctuary in Peru

Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient Ychsma funeral bundle containing the mummified remains of a person buried in Peru roughly 1,000 years ago.

During a major excavation in Pachacamac, Peru – a Pre-Colombian pilgrimage site under the Inca Empire – researchers discovered a sanctuary filled with funerary chambers and mummies.

Inside, they found the wrapped, coffin-like structure and the ‘incredibly well preserved’ individual.

The team also discovered offerings left at the monuments by worshipers, including seashells, vases, dogs, and other precious objects, along with a ‘chapel’ thought to be for foreign pilgrims.

Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient Ychsma funeral bundle containing the mummified remains of a person buried in Peru roughly 1,000 years ago. The team plans to study the contents of the ‘coffin’ using X-ray scans, axial tomography, 3D reconstruction

Researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles’s centre for archaeological research (CReA-Patrimoine) explored the site for nine weeks, revealing three monumental structures and what’s thought to be a sanctuary dedicated to the local ancestors.

The effort was part of the Ychsma project, named after the region’s native people.

According to the team, the space was likely transformed into a water and healing temple in the late 15th century under Inca rule.

Before the Inca arrived, however, the sanctuary housed funerary chambers and numerous mummies.

While most were looted during the Spanish conquest, the chamber containing the bundled mummy remained intact.

The team plans to study the contents of the ‘coffin’ using X-ray scans, axial tomography, 3D reconstruction, and other imaging methods, to look inside without actually disturbing the material.

‘The deceased is still wrapped in the enormous funeral bundle that served as a coffin,’ says professor Peter Eeckhout, who led the expedition.

During a major excavation in Pachacamac, Peru – a Pre-Colombian pilgrimage site under the Inca Empire – researchers discovered a sanctuary filled with funerary chambers and mummies.

Inside, they found the wrapped, coffin-like structure and the ‘incredibly well preserved’ individual

During a major excavation in Pachacamac, Peru – a Pre-Colombian pilgrimage site under the Inca Empire – researchers discovered a sanctuary filled with funerary chambers and mummies.

WHAT IS A FUNERARY BUNDLE? 

In many pre-Colombian civilizations, ancient people would bury their dead in distinctive structures known as funerary bundles.

The Paracas of the Peruvian Andes and the Ychsma were both known to engage in the practice.

These burials involved wrapping the individual in layers cotton cloth, often alongside gifts and other offerings.

The body was typically placed in the fetal position, though they have sometimes been found flexed.

‘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.’

The offerings found at the monuments include Spondylus shells imported from Ecuador, which symbolize fertility and abundance.

At the supposed chapel, they found ‘foundation’ offerings, including vases, dogs, and other animals, along with a platform with a hole in the center, thought to be the site where an idol once stood.

Researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles explored the site for nine weeks, revealing three monumental structures and what’s thought to be a sanctuary dedicated to the local ancestors. The effort was part of the Ychsma project, named after the region's native people

Researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles explored the site for nine weeks, revealing three monumental structures and what’s thought to be a sanctuary dedicated to the local ancestors. The effort was part of the Ychsma project, named after the region’s native people

The entire complex was likely designed around this figure.

‘Deities and their worship played a major part in the life of Pre-Colombian societies,’ Eeckhout said.

‘The Inca understood this very well, and integrated it into how they wielded their power. By promoting empire-wide worship, they contributed to creating a common sense of identity among the many different peoples that made up the empire.

‘Pachacamac is one of the most striking examples of this.’

WHO WERE THE YCHSMA PEOPLE?

The Ichma, or Ychsma, dominated the area south of Lima in the Lurin valley from 1,000AD, before the rise of the Inca.

It later spread north into the Rimac valley formed following the break-up of the South American Wari Empire before later being absorbed into the Inca Empire in around 1440.

The Ichma people spoke Aymara – a language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes, as well as some Bolivians.

The Ichma people are credited with constructing at least 16 pyramids including the Huaca Huantille in the Magdalena del Mar and the Huaca San Borja in the San Borja District.

In the Huaca Huantille, at least nine mummies have been discovered, buried with ceramic items and jewellery.

Excavations in Pachacamac found a further 80 mummies in a burial chamber.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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