When archaeologists from the National University of San Marcos set out to begin excavating in Cajamarquilla, an archaeological site located just 15.5 miles inland from the coastal and capital city of Lima, Peru, they had no idea they were about to make an incredible and valuable discovery. Beginning their project in October 2021, approximately 40 people began digging in search of artifacts, and it wasn’t long before they hit the archaeological jackpot.
During the excavation, archaeologists were unsure of what exactly they would find and certainly did not predict locating the valuable artifact they soon unearthed in the tomb. Easily the most incredible discovery of the excavation was a mummy in near-perfect condition. The entire body was well-preserved and is unmistakably the remains of a human.
The position that the mummy was found in is a bit creepy to see today but was actually very common for funeral rituals during the height of the Huari civilization. The body was wrapped in cloth and was bound by rope in a fetal position. The strangest part was that the hands were covering the face. What looks like a painful death for the mummy was actually a position created by those caring for the funeral, a ritualistic practice for the dead.
What we’ve learned about the find
While examining the body of the mummy, archaeologists determined that the specimen was a man, aged somewhere between 25 and 30 years old. It has also been determined that this particular man must have been one of importance in his society, as not everyone would have been buried with the same care as he was. The Lord of Sipán, a mummy previously found with similar burial patterns, has helped us to understand this man’s social status.
During the decline of the Huari civilization, funeral practices became a lot less intricate and more careless, with a lot of the remains discovered from this period having broken bones or fractures, suggesting human-on-human violence leading to the end of the civilization. As such, archaeologists have also suggested that it is likely that he lived between 800 and 1,200 years ago, during the height of the Huari civilization, which predates the Inca civilization.