A mummy originating from the Chachapoyas Culture has been uncovered near the Amazon Rainforest in northern Peru. This intriguing mummy, which seems to have been silently screaming for centuries, is believed to date back to a period spanning between 900 and 1500 BC. The excavation site has also yielded numerous other mummies. These discoveries, including dozens of mummies, are currently showcased at the Leymebamba Museum in Peru.
Located in the Andes Mountains of Northern Peru, there once existed a culture that thrived in their independent dwellings. A short time before the Spanish invaded South America and conquered the Inca Empire, the Incas had conquered the Chachapoya people, assimilating them into their massive fold. It is for this reason that the Chachapoya culture remains mysterious – there is very little direct information about this ancient Peruvian people. Most of the available information is either from the Incas or the Spanish – and we all know history is written by the winners.
In the past few years, the mystery of the “People of the Clouds” has resurfaced because of pertinent archeological discoveries, including the discovery of an enclave of well preserved mummies in the Utcubamba Valley. Over the course of the last 15 years, over 200 Chachapoya mummies have been discovered. The ones that weren’t looted or moved by government officials are in remarkable shape; each one was wrapped and preserved with herbs, all internal organs were removed and the facial orifices were stuffed with cotton.
Although mummification is so closely tied with Egyptian culture, the misconception exists that the Egyptians were also the first known culture to intentionally mummify their deceased. This is actually not the case. The oldest artificial mummies were discovered in Northern Chile and Southern Peru. The earliest Chincorro mummies date back to 5,000 B.C. which predates the first Egyptian mummies by almost 1,500 years. The tradition of mummification is well known in South America and archeologists are still discovering this tradition spread far and wide across the continent.
The amazing Chachapoya mummies can be found at the Museo Leymebamba, located high in the Northern Andes of Peru. Showcasing some ancient Inca artifacts, the museum mainly focuses on the funerary practices of the Chachapoya and has over 100 mummies from the Lake of the Condors, the largest known Chachapoya burial site in Peru.