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1,000-year-old mummies found in Lima complex

AFP-JIJI

Two pre-Columbian mummies more than 1,000 years old have been found in a pre-Incan cemetery in a suburb of Lima, archaeologists said Thursday.

“This is one of the most important finds in more than three decades of excavation, because both mummies are intact,” Gladys Paz said at the foot of the Huaca Pucllana tomb, an ancient religious complex in the Miraflores neighborhood.

The first signs of the tomb were found five days ago, but unearthing the mummies of an adult and child took time.

The Pacific Ocean and Lima’s buildings are visible from part of the huaca — a Quechua word for religious sites — that towers more than 20 meters high. There are about 350 huacas in Peru’s capital region.

The grave was found intact with offerings and a sacrificed companion, Paz said in reference to the mummified child.

“This is the third intact find among more than 70 tombs excavated since 1981,” when researchers began their work at the Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid-like temple built on 2.5 hectares of land between A.D. 100 and 600.

The two recent mummies will be taken to a lab in the next four to six months to determine the age and sex of each individual.

In the tomb, researchers also found seven vessels with feline designs used to drink a matte tea concoction, 12 fabric bags and the remains of three guinea pigs.