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Representational image of a child mummy in Peru. Source: lamurebenjamin / Adobe Stock.

1,000-Year-Old Cemetery of Child Mummies Found in Peru by Gas Workers

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In a remarkable discovery in the district of Carabayllo in Peru, archaeologists have unearthed a nearly 1,000-year-old pre-Hispanic cemetery containing the remains of infants and children. Six bodies, two neonates and four minors, were meticulously identified and are set to undergo scientific examination.

Situated on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, the site became a focal point of archaeological interest following excavations by workers, who were installing natural gas pipelines to benefit the local community. The unexpected find prompted an immediate notification to specialists for in-depth archaeological investigation.

Child Bundles

Infobae reported that the uncovering took place on September 22, 2023, revealing not only ancient bones but also well-preserved ceramics and vessels adjacent to an illegal water pipeline running through the site. Jesús Bamonde, an archaeologist working for the gas company, shared with EFE that the remains were found bundled in fabric and accompanied by household items, such as vessels, pumpkin materials, and wooden tools.

The expert suggests that the remains likely date back to between 1100 to 1450 AD, making them approximately 800 to 1,000 years old. The terrain’s sandy and dry nature has contributed to the “fair to good” conservation of the site, preserving even the soft tissues of the remains – a characteristic setting it apart from other discoveries.

Child Cemetery

Special attention has been drawn to the nature of the bodies uncovered, primarily belonging to children, with a notable presence of two babies and four children. The discovery has led Bamonde to hypothesize the possibility of the site being a specialized cemetery for minors. Mercedes Vara, another archaeologist on-site, noted that the remains were wrapped with materials including cotton, pacae leaves, and decorated cotton fabrics, with bodies positioned in fetal and lotus flower shapes.

The artifacts found alongside the bodies offer glimpses into the lives and rituals of the deceased’s relatives, shedding light on funeral practices of the time. The relics serve as a testament to the historical continuity of the region, particularly in the valleys of Rímac, Chillón, and Lurín, and open avenues for further discoveries in Peruvian history.

Following the initial phase of archaeological collection, the unearthed bodies will undergo extensive scientific analysis. This will provide insights into the relationship among the remains and the causes of their deaths, unraveling more layers of this significant find in Peru's rich archaeological tapestry.

Visit Andina News Agency for more photographs of the discovery.

Top image: Representational image of a child mummy in Peru. Source: lamurebenjamin / Adobe Stock.

By Joanna Gillan

 
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Joanna

Joanna Gillan is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. 

Joanna completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree in Australia and published research in the field of Educational Psychology. She has a rich and varied career, ranging from teaching... Read More

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