A team of archaeologists from the Free University of Brussels (ULB) has discovered a spectacular tomb containing more than 80 individuals of different ages. The discovery, provisionally dated at about 1,000 years ago, it was done in Pachacamac, which is currently under review to obtain the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pachacamac, located on the Pacific coast about thirty kilometers from Lima, It's one of the largest pre-Hispanic deposits in South America. Professor Peter Eeckhout, under the auspices of the ULB, has been conducting fieldwork at the site for the past 20 years. The 2012 season has generated particularly outstanding discoveries.
- Tomb found in Pachacamac
The team of Ychsma project undertook to record and excavate a series of Inca storage facilities (15th-16th centuries after Christ), as well as a cemeteryeven older than it was detected during exploration work in 2004.
It was here, directly in front of the Pachacamac Temple, which was made the most important discovery. In scattered tombs from earlier periods a hidden huge 20 meter long burial chamber that miraculously, had survived the colonial-era predation that was particularly intense in this place, and was completely intact.
The grave has oval contours, dug into the ground and covered with a reed roof supported by carved tree trunks. A dozen of newborns and children are distributed around the perimeter, their heads are facing the grave. The main chamber was separated into two sections by an adobe brick wall which served as the basis for more burials.
Inside the chambers, archaeologists discovered the remains of more than 70 skeletons and mummies (many of which still had their wraps), all in the feature fetal position. The burials represent both sexes and of various ages and they were normally accompanied by offerings that included ceramic pots, animals (dogs, guinea pigs), pieces of copper and gold alloy, masks (or 'false heads') on painted wood, pumpkins, etc. These objects are under restoration and analysis. Babies and young infants were particularly common.
The team's group of physical anthropologists, under the leadership of Dr. Lawrence Owens (University of London) has proposed the possibility of genetic relationship between many of the individuals thanks to the bases of certain morphological features recorded in the skeletons. Some of the individuals suffered fatal injuries, physical trauma or serious illness.
Previous work by the Ychsma Project has highlighted the extensive presence of disease in the skeletons of the town of Pachacamac, giving rise to the suggestion that the affected individuals, as the Inca sources testify, traveled to the place looking for a cure: a kind of pre-Hispanic Lourdes.
Eeckhout and his colleagues are conducting laboratory analyzes aimed at answer the many questions that have arisen regarding this discovery, and how to contextualize them within a broader context of the place in the period in question. Were the infants slaughtered? Were all the bodies buried at the same time as some kind of Common pit or was the camera used for long periods of time as a crypt species? Did the individuals come from Pachacamac or from further afield? Did they belong to the same family or were they more closely related? Which was the cause of his death?
The objects found in the tomb date stylistically from approximately year 1000 BC, although it has not been confirmed radiometrically. The importance of the place cannot be overstated: Pachacamac is a candidate to enter the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The benefits of the Ychsma Project are supported by the ULB Archaeological and Heritage Research Center, the ULB Foundation and the National Fund for Scientific Research.
With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.