Thursday 15 June 2023

3,000-Year-Old Mummy Offered As Human Sacrifice Discovered In Peru

 Archeologists in Peru announced on Wednesday that they uncovered a 3,000-year-old mummy that was offered as a human sacrifice.

The find, which comes following a string of similar discoveries in the country, was initially spotted by students from San Marcos University, a college in Peru’s capital, Lima. The students first discovered a cotton bundle containing the hair and skull of the person and later uncovered the remainder of the mummy. 

The mummy is a male and was found in the capital of Lima, according to Reuters. Archeologist Michael Aguilar told the outlet experts believe it was from the Manchay culture, which lived in the Lima valleys between 1500 and 1000 BC. The Manchay culture is known for having built U-shaped temples on the central coast of Peru, according to a DePaul University Department of Anthropology report

The mummy “had been left or offered (as a sacrifice) during the last phase of the construction of this temple,” Aguilar told Reuters, adding that it was roughly 3,000 years old. 

According to the BBC, the archeologists were digging at the site of a landfill, having removed more than eight tons of trash prior to their search. The mummy had been laid out flat, which is in line with practices of the Manchay culture in the “formative area” of 3,000 years ago, Aguilar said, according to the outlet. It was wrapped in cloth made from vegetable fiber and cotton. 

In addition to the mummy, archeologists discovered seeds, corn, and coca leaves buried with the mummy. It’s probable that these items were part of the sacrifice. Coca, the raw material in cocaine, has a deep history in Peruvian culture, being used for thousands of years as parts of daily life and sacred rituals, according to JSTOR Daily. 

As for the U-shaped temples, the anthropology report notes that they would consist of three mounds in the shape of a U; a main pyramid and two side mounds, with one side being longer than the other. The larger side would have typically been connected to the main pyramid. Reuters notes that these temples would face toward the sunrise. 

A group of people who lived in today’s Peru and Chile — the Chinchorros — were the first group to practice mummification, thousands of years before the Egyptians, according to the American Museum of Natural History. It was common in Peru before the Spanish arrived and practiced by multiple cultures over 6,000 years ago, the museum notes. 


The recent discovery follows a year of big archeological news in the Andean country. In April, archeologists discovered an adolescent mummy just outside Lima that was roughly 1,000 years old. A month before that, a 26-year-old man was detained after police said he had possession of a mummy in his delivery bag in Lima that he claimed was his “spiritual girlfriend.” In February, six mummified children were discovered in a tomb near Lima, thought to be roughly 1,000 to 1,200 years old.

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