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Headless mummy discovered in Peru

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of the oldest mummy ever foundin Peru’s capital, Lima — a high-ranking official of the Huari tribe who lived about 1,300 years ago.
Peruvian archaeologist Isabel Flores cleans a pre-Incan mummy that was found at the Huaca Pucllana ceremonial complex in Lima. The mummy is thought to be that of an official from 1,300 years ago.
Peruvian archaeologist Isabel Flores cleans a pre-Incan mummy that was found at the Huaca Pucllana ceremonial complex in Lima. The mummy is thought to be that of an official from 1,300 years ago.Martin Mejia / AP
/ Source: Reuters

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of the oldest mummy ever found here in Peru’s capital — a high-ranking official of the Huari tribe who lived about 1,300 years ago, researchers said Wednesday.

The headless mummy was found in September in Lima’s Huaca Pucllana ceremonial complex after studies and exploration at the site.

“He was decapitated and belongs to the Huari culture that invaded Lima,” said archaeologist Isabel Flores, director of the Huaca Pucllana museum. She said the Huaris predated the Incas, who dominated South America from Colombia to Chile until they were toppled by Spanish conquerors in the 1530s.

“Judging by the clothes he is wearing, we’re talking about a senior official who was buried wrapped in cloth and tied with rope made of vegetal fiber,” Flores added.

The Huaris, a warrior society that conquered Peru’s central Andes and coastal regions between A.D. 600 and 1000, were known for their high-quality textiles and pottery styles.

They were supplanted by Ichmas, who Flores said were likely responsible for decapitating the Huari official well after he was buried in an attempt to erase all vestiges of a tribe that dominated them for years.

Peruvian archeologist Jose Ccencho shows the hole where the mummy was buried, in Lima's Huaca Pucllana ceremonial complex, October 19, 2005. Archaeologists have uncovered the oldest mummy ever found in Peru's capital, Lima - a high-ranking official of the Huari tribe who lived around 1,300 years ago, researchers said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Pilar OlivaresPilar Olivares / X00856

“It was an act of rebellion against the Huaris. Without doubt, this gives us valuable information about ancient inhabitants of what is now Peru’s capital,” she added.

The mummy, which was found surrounded by tunics and food such as corn and beans, is not well-preserved because of the humidity of Peru’s coast. Its dried skin and bones are badly chipped, and many of its ligaments are visible.

Peru has made some striking mummy discoveries in recent years. In February last year, two 700-year-old mummies were found in southern Peru by construction workers under a school. Thousands of Inca mummies were found at an ancient cemetery under a shantytown near Lima in 2002.