Pre-Inca mummies discovered in Peru show connection to other ancient civilizations

Dec 20, 2023 | 0 comments

By Tad Ramos

Archaeologists in Peru have revealed the discovery of the burial grounds of at least 73 individuals dating back approximately 1,000 years, predating the Inca’s dominance in western South America by a few hundred years.

One of the mummies unearthed at the Pachacámac archaeological site.

Each of these were wrapped in fabric, some of which exhibited vibrant colors, and secured with rope. The male and female remains were accompanied by wooden and ceramic masks, commonly referred to as “false heads,” as reported by Krzysztof Makowski, the head of archaeological research at the site and an archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

The graves, situated near Lima at the Pachacámac archaeological site, are attributed to the Wari culture and date between 800 and 1100 AD, aligning with the Wari Empire’s territorial expansion in the region.

Renowned for their well-preserved mummies and intricate artwork, including elaborately designed ceramics and fabrics, the Wari people also engaged in human sacrifice and utilized hallucinogens in religious ceremonies.

Alongside the burials, two wooden structures were unearthed near the cemetery within the remains of an adjacent settlement. These staffs, discovered amid a deposit of ‘thorny oyster’ shells imported from present-day Ecuador, north of the Wari Empire, feature carved iconography indicating potential connections between the people at Pachacámac and those in the Tiwanaku kingdom to the south of the Wari Empire, spanning parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.

Each staff bears carvings depicting a dignitary adorned with headgear resembling that worn in the Tiwanaku kingdom. The ongoing excavations at Pachacámac, coupled with the analysis of recovered remains, promise to offer further insights into the ancient interactions and influences between these civilizations.

In the Quechua language spoken by the Indigenous people of the Andes, the name Pachacámac translates to ‘one who gives life to the Earth.’

Archaeological evidence suggests that Pachacámac was a relatively modest settlement during the Wari Empire but experienced substantial growth during the Inca era, flourishing in the 15th century. The site evolved into a significant religious center during the Inca’s dominance, contributing to the rich historical tapestry of this region.

Ongoing excavations and examinations of the remains aim to unravel more mysteries surrounding the cultural evolution of Pachacámac and its role in the complex history of pre-Columbian civilizations in South America.
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Credit: Reuters

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