In November last year, archaeologists from the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos (UNMSM) made an impressive discovery while excavating the basement of a square in a town at the archaeological site of Cajamarquilla.
The historic site, located approximately 25 kilometers from Lima, the capital of Peru, holds a number of treasures from the region’s past and was no different in the excavation carried out at the end of 2021.
At the time, it was revealed that researchers had found nothing less than a well-preserved mummy that had an estimated age of between 800 and 1200 years, with very peculiar characteristics.
In addition to being in an excellent state of conservation, which already interested specialists, the curious position in which he covered his face with his hands instigated.
The team, made up of about 40 people, began excavating the region near the Peruvian capital in mid-October of that year. They were led by researcher Pieter Van Dalen Luna and archaeologist Yomira Huamán Santillán.
As CNN International reported, the mummy history of the region is extensive and includes both regions of Peru and neighboring Chile. Most of the mummified bodies found are over a thousand years old and surprise scholars.
Still, when they came across the mummy, they were extremely surprised as they weren’t expecting this kind of discovery at the time. This is a great find.
The entire team was very happy because we thought this was not going to happen,” Yomira Huamán Santillán told the publication when the body was found. “We didn’t expect to make such an important discovery.”
According to experts, it is a mummy of a young woman who died between her 25 and 30 years of age who may have come from the mountain region to Cajamarquilla, where she was found. The change probably happened because the city was an old commercial center in the pre-Columbus era.
For Pieter Van Dalen Luna, “the discovery of this resident sheds new light on interactions and relationships in pre-Hispanic times”, that is, even before the Inca civilization, which was responsible for establishing Machu Picchu, in the 15th century.
“The fact of finding a mummy with these characteristics in the middle of the square makes it clear that this is a person of high status,” said Van Dalen Luna of the mummy found in Cajamarquilla.
The person may have been a prominent trader at the time he lived, probably not an ordinary citizen, but someone extremely important because of the features of his burial.
“Once the body is placed in the tomb, there are constant events and activities,” the researcher explained.
Aside from the fact that she had her hands covering her face, which experts believe is a southern Peruvian burial practice, the mummy was also found with some marine molluscs outside her tomb, as well as llama bones.
The place where the body was found is about 25 km from the coast, which has made archaeologists intrigued by the discovery of molluscs in the tomb. As for the remains of animals, they may have been consumed by the people of the time and their pieces of meat offered to the dead.
After the excavations and discovery of the mummy, more specialist analyzes will need to be done on the body so that details about its identity are revealed, including a radiocarbon dating to deduce the moment in history in which the person lived.