Pre-Inca mummy found in Peru with hands covering its face

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Nov. 29 (UPI) — An 800-year-old mummy with its hands covering its face was found by archaeologists in Peru.

The mummy — which could be up to 1,200 years old — was found at a site near the capital city Lima by researchers from the National University of San Marcos this week.

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The body was found in the middle of a town square at the archaeological site of Cajamarquilla. It was tied with ropes with its hands covering its face.

Archaeologists say this way of burial is a southern Peruvian funeral custom preceding the Inca civilization. The mummy is most likely a man between 25 and 30 years old who had come from the mountains to the town. He was likely of high status.

Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint a time period when the man may have lived. Carbon dating and other analyses are being carried out.

Work on the site began in October with a team of 40 people. Pieter Van Dalen Luna and Yomira Huaman Santillan led the group.

“The whole team was really happy because we didn’t think this was going to happen,” Huamán told CNN. “We didn’t expect to make such an important discovery.”

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Marine mollusks were also found outside of the mummy’s tomb, even though the site is 15 miles away from the coast. Luna said descendants may place food and offerings at the tomb over the years. Llama bones were also found at the tomb site.

Other mummies have been found in Peru and Chile, many of them over 1,000 years old.