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Archaeologists in Peru's capital have discovered a mummy encircled by coca leaves atop a hill

By: April Carson

In Peru's capital, atop a hill adjacent to a professional soccer club's practice field, archaeologists have discovered a pre-Hispanic mummy, encircled by coca leaves. The discovery was made during excavations that began in June, under the direction of Ricardo Ruiz Caro from Peru's National Institute of Culture.

On Thursday, a team from The Associated Press witnessed the discovery of a mummy's skeleton buried one meter (three feet) below the earth. The bones came with long, black hair, and were found lying face up, with ropes made from vegetable vines braided around its lower extremities. Stones enclosed the burial site.

The mummy was encircled by more than 30 coca leaves, which are commonly used in traditional Andean ceremonies. According to archaeologists, coca leaves are also used to mummify bodies. The mummy's age and gender have yet to be determined.

According to Miguel Aguilar, an archaeology professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the mummy was interred in a ceremony involving coca leaves and seashells. He believes the find is an example of a pre-Hispanic culture's embrace of ancestor worship.

Atop a U-shaped clay temple, typical of pre-Hispanic architecture, lay the burial site. Aguilar stated that the mummy's age has yet to be determined, pending radiocarbon dating.

According to him, they discovered old fly eggs beside the male skeleton, indicating that the body was left exposed for several days before being buried.

This discovery helps to further scholars' understanding of pre-Hispanic cultures in the area, and more information about the find is expected in the future. These findings highlight the importance of continuing archaeological research for uncovering information about Peru's past.

The discovery was made in Rímac, a district separated from the oldest part of Lima by a river of the same name. Aguilar, who leads the Historical and Cultural Center of the Municipality of Rímac, was also involved in the finding.

Pieter Van Dalen, a professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and an expert on the archaeology of the Peruvian coast, noted that the rope binding the mummy's lower extremities follows the pattern observed in ancient ceremonies. However, Van Dalen was not directly involved in the project. He referenced another mummy discovered in an alternate region of Lima, whose body was also bound with ropes made of vegetables. "It's a pattern that we see in the region," he said.

The discovery of this mummy, encircled by coca leaves atop a hill in Peru's capital, is an incredible testament to the ancient practices of pre-Hispanic cultures in the area. It sheds light on ancestor worship and the traditional ceremonies performed during burials.

Over the first few months of this year, a team of excavators worked to collect up to eight tons of garbage that had accumulated on top of a hill near the Sporting Cristal soccer club's training field and headquarters. In addition, the police cleared out homeless people and drug addicts who were camping around the hill.

The hill is adorned with remnants of ancient mud walls and is classified as a "Huaca," a Quechua term for oracle or sacred space. The Ministry of Culture has identified over 400 such huacas in Lima.

In the city, mummies and other pre-Hispanic remains have been discovered in unexpected locations. During the installation of natural gas lines or water mains, workers have stumbled upon mummies, sometimes even those of children, enclosed in large clay vessels.

Residents in Peru have made incredible discoveries in recent years. Hipólito Tica found three pre-Hispanic mummies tucked away in a hole in his patio, which he kept quiet about for a quarter century. It was only recently that he allowed archaeologists to study them. "We're talking about a private patio. It's something that you don't expect," said Tica.

Archaeologists continue to explore the hill and uncover more clues about pre-Hispanic cultures in Peru. Research is ongoing, and further information about this incredible discovery is sure to be revealed in the coming months.

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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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