Archaeologists find mummy surrounded by coca leaves on hilltop in Peru’s capital

An archaeologist has discovered a pre-Hispanic mummy surrounded by coca leaves near a soccer practice field in Peru’s capital.

It was found face up with its lower extremities tied with a rope braided from vines of vegetable origin by a team from The Associated Press on Thursday. A mummy buried one meter (three feet) underground was surrounded by stones.

According to Miguel Aguilar, an archeology professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the mummy was buried with coca leaves and seashells.

Pre-Hispanic buildings often had U-shaped clay temples, which were buried on top of them. Aguilar said radiocarbon dating has not yet been performed on the mummy to determine its age.

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The skeleton was found to be covered with dirt after being exposed for several days, according to the professor.

Lima’s oldest part is separated from Rmac by a river of the same name. Also, Aguilar leads the Historical and Cultural Center of the Municipality of Rímac

According to Pieter Van Dalen, an archeologist who is not involved in the project but is an expert on the Peruvian coast, the rope binding the lower extremities of the mummy is a pattern seen during ceremonies. The mummy was also tied with vegetable ropes, according to another mummy found in another area of Lima.

In the first months of this year, excavators collected up to eight tons of garbage that covered the hill, which is adjacent to the training field and headquarters of Sporting Cristal soccer club. Campers and homeless people who live on the hill were also removed by police.

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A “huaca,” a Quechua word meaning oracle or sacred place, was built on the hill with the remains of ancient mud walls. According to the Ministry of Culture, Lima has more than 400 huacas.

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Pre-Hispanic remains have been found in unusual places in the city, including mummies. During the installation of natural gas lines and water mains, mummies, sometimes children, have been found inside large clay vessels.

There are even cases of discoveries by residents, such as Hipólito Tica, who found three pre-Hispanic mummies in a hole in the patio of his house. He kept quiet about them for a quarter century, until in 2022 they were removed by archaeologists with permission from Peru’s Ministry of Culture.

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