Archaeologists have just excavated a large area in Pachacamac, Peru, and discovered a 1,000-year-old mummy that is extremely well preserved, which is a rarity given its age. A study conducted by the Université libre de Bruxelles’s Centre for Archaeological Research (CReA-Patrimoine) has further confirmed that this region of Peru was once a heavily frequented pilgrimage site during the time of the great Inca empire.
As Phys.org reports, the discovery of the Peruvian mummy was a happy surprise for archaeologists who had spent a full nine weeks of excavations in Pachacamac before they found the deceased individual. While carbon-14 dating has not been conducted as of yet, the style of the mummy points to a burial between the years 1000 and 1200 AD, according to Professor Peter Eeckhout.
“The deceased is still wrapped in the enormous funeral bundle that served as a coffin. 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 recent archaeological excavations in Peru have been diligently conducted by Professor Eeckhout for the Ychsma project. During their study, archaeologists explored a local sanctuary that was specially built for local residents’ ancestors who once lived in the area.
The sanctuary once contained an incredible number of mummies placed carefully throughout funerary chambers, but during the time of the Spanish conquest, most of the area had been looted so thoroughly that hardly anything was left remaining inside. Fortunately for archaeologists, however, the Spanish missed the chamber that held this particular 1,000-year-old mummy in Peru.
Even better for archaeologists, because the mummy is in such excellent condition, there will be no need to unwrap it when x-ray scans are performed in the future. Besides the use of x-rays, scientists will also be employing 3-D reconstruction and axial tomography.
The Pachacamac site where the Peruvian mummy was found will be studied further to learn more about this area of pilgrimage that the Incas created, according to Eeckhout.
“Deities and their worship played a major part in the life of Pre-Colombian societies. 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.”
With the exciting new discovery of the 1,000-year-old mummy in Peru, archaeologists will continue with further excavation work in Pachacamac to explore the past and mysterious world of the Incas.