Archaeologists have discovered dozens of tombs filled with 40 mummies each at a pre-Columbian ceremonial site in Arequipa’s Cotahuasi Canyon.
The team has unearthed 171 mummies so far from a 1200-year-old ceremonial site near the Huarcaya river, and they expect to find over 1000. The site now known as Tenahaha dates to between 800 and 1000 A.D., the era of the Wari culture in Peru.
Many of the mummies had been damaged by water and rodents. Others were broken apart and scattered around the site. “Though many individuals were broken apart, others were left intact. People were moved around the tombs, but they sometimes remained bunched together, and even earth or rocks were used to separate some groups and individuals,” Justin Jennings wrote in “Tenahaha and the Wari State.”
“In the Andes, death is a process. It’s not as if you bury someone and you’re done,” Jennings told Live Science, the web journal which published the discovery.
The period when Tenahaha was active corresponds with the beginning of the end of the Wari culture, which was brought down by warring factions. But Tenahaha is believed to have been a neutral ground for burials and feasting.
Tombs Filled with Dozens of Mummies Discovered in Peru (Live Science)