Archaeologists unearth eight colonial-era mummies in Peru

Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed eight centuries-old mummies at a site in the country's capital, an important find that experts say could point to a colonial-era cemetery.

 An archaeologist works on the remains of the city's first cemetery at the former Royal Hospital of San Andres, where human remains dating back to the colonial era were found, in Lima, Peru, May 25, 2022. (photo credit: SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA/REUTERS)
An archaeologist works on the remains of the city's first cemetery at the former Royal Hospital of San Andres, where human remains dating back to the colonial era were found, in Lima, Peru, May 25, 2022.
(photo credit: SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA/REUTERS)

Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed eight centuries-old mummies at a site in the country's capital, an important find that experts say could point a colonial-era cemetery.

Archaeologists on Tuesday were hard at work in Lima's Park of Legends on the coast of central Peru, carefully cleaning the ancient preserved corpses found under the site, including the remains of children.

What did the researchers find?

Park official Lucenida Carrion said the latest find follows an earlier discovery of three mummies, one of which was holding a wooden cross, in early August.

"This finding backs our hypothesis that this could be a cemetery from the colonial period, at the time of conversion to Christianity or Catholicism," she said.

The mummies were found in unusual positions and with a mix of textiles that pointed to the influence of Spanish colonials, added field manager Manuel Moron.

 A view shows a tomb at an excavation site where archeologists work to recover the remains of 14 pre-Incan mummies, six children and eight adults which are nearly 1000 years old, at the archeological complex in Cajamarquilla, Peru February 13, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER) A view shows a tomb at an excavation site where archeologists work to recover the remains of 14 pre-Incan mummies, six children and eight adults which are nearly 1000 years old, at the archeological complex in Cajamarquilla, Peru February 13, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Spain's bloody conquest of Peru's Inca empire began in 1532 and lasted four decades. Government officials said the site had been occupied by the Lima and Ychsma people before the Incas.

Other monuments discovered at the same site date back some 2,000 years.