October 20, 2005

Peru finds headless mummy predating Incas in Lima

By Marco Aquino

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Archeologists have uncovered the
remains of the oldest mummy ever found in Peru's capital, Lima
-- a high-ranking official of the Huari tribe who lived about
1,300 years ago, researchers said on Wednesday.

The headless mummy was found in September in Lima's Huaca
Pucllana ceremonial complex after studies and exploration at
the site.

"He was decapitated and belongs to the Huari culture that
invaded Lima," said archeologist Isabel Flores, director of the
Huaca Pucllana museum, adding the Huaris predated the Incas,
who dominated South America from Colombia to Chile until being
toppled by Spanish conquerors in the 1530s.

"Judging by the clothes he is wearing, we're talking about
a senior official who was buried wrapped in cloth and tied with
rope made of vegetal fiber," Flores added.

The Huaris, a warrior society that conquered Peru's central
Andes and coastal regions between 600 and 1000 A.D, were known
for their high-quality textiles and pottery styles.

They were supplanted by Ichmas, who Flores said were likely
responsible for decapitating the Huari official well after he
was buried in an attempt to erase all vestiges of a tribe that
dominated them for years.

"It was an act of rebellion against the Huaris. Without
doubt, this gives us valuable information about ancient
inhabitants of what is now Peru's capital," she added.

The mummy, which was found surrounded by tunics and food
such as corn and beans, is not well preserved because of the
humidity of Peru's coast. Its dried skin and bones are badly
chipped and many of its ligaments are visible.

Peru has made some striking mummy discoveries in recent
years. In February last year, two 700-year-old mummies were
found in southern Peru by construction workers under a school.
Thousands of Inca mummies were found at an ancient cemetery
under a shantytown near Lima in 2002.