Pre-Hispanic Mummy Surrounded by Coca Leaves Discovered on Hilltop in Peru’s Capital

by Gabriel Martinez
pre-Hispanic mummy

In Peru’s capital, a group of archaeologists has made a remarkable discovery—a pre-Hispanic mummy was found atop a hill, enveloped by coca leaves. Situated near the training grounds of a professional soccer club, The Big Big News team had the opportunity to observe the skeleton on Thursday. The mummy, with long black hair, rested face up, its lower extremities bound by a rope intricately braided from vegetable vines. Delicately arranged stones encircled the burial site, located one meter (three feet) beneath the ground.

Miguel Aguilar, an archaeology professor at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, explained that the mummy had been interred in a ritual that incorporated coca leaves and seashells. Interestingly, the burial occurred atop a ruined U-shaped clay temple, a characteristic feature of certain pre-Hispanic structures. Aguilar mentioned that the mummy’s age has yet to be determined through radiocarbon dating.

Notably, the archaeologists discovered old fly eggs near the male skeleton, suggesting that the body had been exposed for several days before being laid to rest and covered with soil.

This discovery was made in Rímac, a district separated from the oldest part of Lima by a river of the same name. Aguilar, who also serves as the head of the Historical and Cultural Center of the Municipality of Rímac, led the investigation.

Pieter Van Dalen, an expert in Peruvian coastal archaeology from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, provided insights on the mummy’s binding. He noted that the rope used to secure the mummy’s lower extremities was indicative of ceremonial practices, drawing parallels with another mummy discovered in a different part of Lima, also tied with vegetable ropes.

The excavation team dedicated the first months of this year to clearing the hilltop of debris, amassing an impressive eight tons of garbage. The hill, situated next to the Sporting Cristal soccer club’s training field and headquarters, had been plagued by homeless individuals and drug addicts who frequented the area. Authorities took action to remove them.

With remnants of ancient mud walls, the hill holds significant historical value as a “huaca,” a Quechua term signifying an oracle or sacred place. Lima boasts more than 400 huacas, according to the Ministry of Culture.

Notably, mummies and other pre-Hispanic artifacts have been unearthed in unexpected locations within the city. Workers laying natural gas lines or water mains have stumbled upon mummies, occasionally even those of children, concealed within large clay vessels.

In a separate instance, a resident named Hipólito Tica uncovered three pre-Hispanic mummies in a pit within his patio. He maintained silence about the discovery for twenty-five years until, in 2022, archaeologists gained permission from Peru’s Ministry of Culture to remove them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about pre-Hispanic mummy

What did archaeologists discover in Peru’s capital?

Archaeologists discovered a pre-Hispanic mummy surrounded by coca leaves on a hill in Peru’s capital.

How was the mummy found?

The mummy was found lying face up with its lower extremities tied with a rope made from vegetable vines. Stones surrounded the burial site.

What was the significance of the burial?

The mummy was buried in a ritual that involved coca leaves and seashells. Its placement on top of a destroyed U-shaped clay temple indicates a pre-Hispanic architectural characteristic.

Has the mummy’s age been determined?

No, the mummy’s age has not yet been determined through radiocarbon dating.

Where was the discovery made?

The discovery was made in Rímac, a district in Peru’s capital, Lima. It is separated from the oldest part of Lima by the Rímac River.

Are there other similar discoveries in Lima?

Yes, there have been previous discoveries of mummies and pre-Hispanic remains in unexpected places within Lima, including during infrastructure installations and even within residents’ properties.

What are huacas?

Huacas are sacred places or oracles, as indicated by the Quechua word, and Lima is home to more than 400 such sites according to the Ministry of Culture.

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ArchaeoExplorer June 16, 2023 - 5:26 pm

mummy found on hilltop in peru capital! buried with coca leaves & seashells in old clay temple. archaeologists still need to date it. fascinating stuff!

SoccerFanatic June 16, 2023 - 8:54 pm

wait, they found a mummy near a pro soccer club’s field? that’s insane! imagine practicing next to ancient remains. the past is all around us, even on the pitch!

LinguoMaster69 June 17, 2023 - 4:07 am

wow, they found a pre-hispanic mummy in peru! surrounded by coca leaves and tied up with a veggie vine rope. i wonder how old it is. so cool!

CuriousMind June 17, 2023 - 8:50 am

pre-hispanic mummies poppin’ up in unexpected places! workers uncovering ’em while laying pipes. who knew what secrets were hiding beneath the city all this time?

HistoryBuff42 June 17, 2023 - 11:18 am

did you know lima has over 400 sacred sites called huacas? this mummy discovery adds to the rich pre-hispanic history of the region. amazing finds keep coming!


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