Archeologists have unearthed 14 mummies in Cajamarquilla, Peru.
These were likely people sacrificed to accompany a high-ranking elite, per the archeologists.
The bodies, six of which were children, were likely buried 800 to 1000 years ago.
Archeologists found 14 previously undiscovered pre-Incan mummies in a tomb in Cajamarquilla, Peru.
The mummies, which include the bodies of six children, are likely the remains of people sacrificed alongside a high-ranking member of the city’s elite.
“Andine societies believed that after passing away, people didn’t disappear. Death wasn’t an ending but a beginning, a transition to a parallel world,” said Pieter van Dalen Luna, an archaeologist on the dig, Reuters reported†
People were often sacrificed as part of funerary rites for local elites, van Dalen Luna said, Reuters reported.
“They were placed in the tomb’s entrance so that they could accompany him in the path of the dead, towards the final destination,” he said, per Reuters.
Eight adults were also found at the site, alongside ceramic pots, decorated calabashes, and knitting gear, Reuters reported.
The remains would have been buried about 800 to 1,000 years ago, the archeologists estimated, Reuters reported.
The team of archaeologists who found the mummies have been working to uncover the mysteries of the Cajarmaquilla, one of the biggest archeological sites of South America.
Last November, they discovered the body of a man with hands bound to his face in a typical ceremonial funerary position. His remains were so well preserved that archaeologists hope to recover ancient DNA from the body.
That man, believed to be a high-ranking local elite, was likely part of the Chaclla culture, which developed in the mountains of Lima and the province of Huariochiri around that time and predated the Incans, CNN reported†
Cajarmarquilla, which is located on the outskirts of what is now Lima, was likely a sacred site dedicated to rites.
People would have traveled far and wide to visit the sacred city, which would have been a hub for trading at the time, as Insider previously reported.
Although in ruins now, Cajamarquilla would have looked very different then, an expert previously told Insider.
“It would have been covered by the ceremonial plaza where there were sacrifices and where they were celebrating some rituals,” said Dagmara Socha, a bioarchaeologist from the Center for Andean Studies at the University of Warsaw. An adobe brick pyramid would have towered over the local landscape, she added.
Because people didn’t live there year-round, it is believed that only high-ranking members of society were buried on the site.
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