Skip to comments.700-year-old Peruvian mummies found (so well preserved – an eye and internal organs intact)
Posted on 02/24/2004 6:35:01 AM PST by dead
Two of the oldest mummies found in Peru - so well preserved that one had an eye and internal organs intact - have gone on display after their discovery by building workers two weeks ago.
Officials from the National Institute of Culture said the mummies - a young boy and a man in his mid-30s - were at least 700 years old.
They came from a culture that predated the Incas, who dominated a vast swathe of South America from Colombia to Chile until they were toppled by Spanish invaders in the 1530s.
An archaeologist at the National Culture Institute, Lucy Linares, said: "Two mummies have been found - a boy of about five and a farmer, about 35 years old, dating from between 1100 and 1300, the Chiribaya culture. What is striking is the level of conservation [of the mummies]."
The man had one eye open and "you can see his eyeball. It's perfectly preserved."
When the workers moved the body, they accidentally made a hole in his side, displaying his intestines, she added. Fat adhering to the skin was also extremely well preserved.
The mummies went on display at the institute for 30 minutes on Monday. They will now be cleaned and studied by archaeologists.
Workers found the pair as they dug a sports ground in the coastal province of Islay, 125 kilometres south of Peru's second city, Arequipa.
The clothing on the mummies and their style of burial identified them as being of the Chiribaya culture, which developed in the arid coastal stretch of northern Chile and southern Peru around 800 to 1350. The culture's highly decorative ceramics were distinctive, historians say.
The bodies were buried separately, wrapped in red and blue alpaca cloth and tied with rope. They were placed in the fetal position three metres underground. Corn husks were found inside the funerary cloth.
"It looks like it was a natural death. It seems the place was a cemetery," Ms Linares said.
She said the man was probably a farmer because he had bags of seeds attached to his belt and a spade by his side. The boy was buried in a small tomb of stones. No more bodies have been found.
What is striking is the level of conservation of the mummies. The man had one eye open and "you can see his eyeball. It's perfectly preserved."
Schwiiiiiing! said Bill Clinton.
Ping to the list.
"You know, if I were a single man, I might ask that mummy out. That's a good-looking mummy!"
Wonder if the daddies were well preserved too?
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