73 Ancient Mummies Unearthed With ‘False Heads’

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Archaeologists from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru revealed Monday the discovery of 73 intact pre-Incan burial bundles containing ancient mummies.

The bodies are believed to be roughly 1,000 years old, with many of them adorned with “false heads,” a type of carved wood and ceramic burial mask, according to a blog post from the university. The bodies were found at Pachacámac near Lima, Peru, an extensive cemetery complex containing burials from a variety of different cultures and time periods.

It’s believed the most recent discoveries are of individuals from the Wari Empire, since the bodies were buried near a Wari Painted Temple dating to around 800 to 1,100, AD, according to the blog post. The male and female remains were wrapped in colorful fabric and ropes, and some graves contained colorful ceramics and other items.

The Wari were known for creating well-preserved mummies and intricate artistry, as well as their cultural and religious use of hallucinogens, according to Live Science.

Only a small number of the graves excavated at the sprawling archaeological site have withstood the test of time, which is why this new discovery is so significant. Not only is it unique in the sense of its exceptional preservation, but it helps fill out our understanding of this time in history. (RELATED: Mysterious Mummy Reveals Lost City Never Found On Any Maps)

Researchers know the Wari traded with other tribes or traveled throughout the region, as large fragments of imported shells from Ecuador were also found at the site, per the blog post. What we don’t know is just how extensive and developed Central and South America’s population grew over the last several thousand years. With new discoveries emerging from the jungle every day, it could be that our ancient ancestors’ globalized culture originated in this lush part of our planet.