August 27, 2008
Mummy Discovered In Peru
A mummy was unearthed Tuesday in Peru's Huaca Pucllana ruins, by archeologists who think the findings may have originated with the ancient Wari culture that flourished before the Incas.
The tomb also contained the remains of two other adults and a child-who researchers believe was sacrificed.
Researchers say the discovery is the first intact Wari burial site at Huaca Pucllana in the capital Lima.
"We'd discovered other tombs before," said Isabel Flores, director of the ruins.
"But they always had holes, or were damaged. Never had we found a whole tomb like this one -- intact," she said, standing on the ancient plaza, a huge partially excavated mound of rocks, bricks and dirt.
Workers wrapped the female mummy in tissue paper before lifting it onto a flat wood board. They revealed her face, which showed two big, bright blue orbs in her eye sockets.
Earlier in the week, they extracted the other adult mummies, which were also whole.
"Her face startled me at first," said Miguel Angel, 19, a worker at Huaca Pucllana who helped unearth the tomb.
"I wasn't expecting to find anything like that," he said. It was not clear what the fake eyes were made of.
For 500 years, the Wari people lived and ruled in what is now Peru. Archaeologists estimate it was between 600 AD and 1100 AD.
The Wari capital was located by modern-day Ayacucho, in the Andes. However, they were known to travel extensively on a vast network of roadways.
So far, Flores said about 30 tombs have been found at Huaca Pucllana.
Researchers say it was common for the Wari to sacrifice small children.
The recent discovery at Huaca Pucllana reveals the Wari people buried their dead in what is now Lima. It also offers the world a more complete picture of how burials were completed.
"This enriches Lima's story," Flores said.
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