1,000-year-old mummy found in Lima, Peru, has long hair


Archaeologists digging in Peru’s capital, Lima, made a surprising discovery below the bustling city: a 1,000-year-old mummy with a head of well-preserved brown hair.

The remains, which were found inside a ceremonial grave at the monument Huaca Pucllana, an age-old pyramid, were nestled alongside ceramic objects and textiles, archaeologist Mirella Ganoza told Reuters on Wednesday.

“This is an adult individual in a sitting position with bent legs,” Ganoza said, adding that it wasn’t just the mummy’s ancient tresses that were still largely undamaged. Its jaw was also almost entirely intact.

The remains can be traced back to about 1,000 A.D. The Ychsma people, who lived in the area at that time, are credited with building at least 16 pyramids and dominated the central coast of modern Peru until the rise of the Inca empire.

Huaca Pucllana was built around 500 A.D. and lies in the heart of Miraflores. The Ychsma people are believed to have used it as a cemetery.

“It is interesting that we still find such things in the middle of the city,” Ganoza said, as many on social media hailed the discovery and congratulated Ganoza and her colleagues.

Experts say they do not yet know the gender of the mummy, La Republica reported.

There are about 400 sacred sites in Lima, home to various archaeological ruins that serve to help experts answer questions about the past. Experts have used mummies found in the country to assess the health, cultural and societal conditions of Indigenous Peruvians.

“There is still much that Peru’s dead can teach us,” Smithsonian Magazine wrote in 2015, as it looked back on the significance of such discoveries. “From inside stone palaces and atop sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living.”

Earlier this year, archaeologists found a 1,000-year-old mummy at the Cajamarquilla archaeological site, about 15 miles from Lima. The remains were believed to have been from an adolescent, NBC reported, adding that some of the corpse’s skin was still distinguishable. The mummy was found in an area where at least 20 other individuals were also discovered, thought to be victims of human sacrifice.

In June, students and researchers discovered a mummy believed to be about 3,000 years old during another excavation in Lima. Some of the remains were found inside a cotton bundle, Reuters reported.


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