During an excavation in Lima, Peru, archaeologists made a remarkable find as they uncovered a mummy estimated to be approximately 3,000 years old. Assisting in the dig, students from San Marcos University were the first to notice the mummy’s hair and skull.
The researchers diligently sifted through eight tons of waste that had accumulated at the site before commencing their meticulous search for historical artifacts. Believed to belong to the Manchay culture, the mummy provides insights into a civilization that thrived in the region surrounding present-day Lima from approximately 1500 BC to 1000 BC.
The Manchay people were renowned for constructing U-shaped temples that were oriented towards the sunrise. According to Miguel Aguilar, an archaeologist involved in the excavation, the mummy had been interred in a tomb located at the heart of one such U-shaped temple. The body had been laid flat, a distinct characteristic of the Manchay culture during the “formative era” around 3,000 years ago.
Wrapped in cloth made from cotton and vegetable fiber, the mummy was presumably a result of a religious or ceremonial practice. Aguilar suggested that the individual had either been intentionally left in the temple or offered as a sacrifice during its final construction phase.
Prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, various cultures in present-day Peru practiced mummification. Some mummies were buried, often in a curled-up position, while others were publicly displayed during important festivals.