A mummy, fully bound in ropes and with its hands covering its face, has been discovered in an underground tomb in Peru.
Archaeologists from the National University of San Marcos found the mummy in good condition in Cajamarquilla, a significant site 15.5 miles inland from the coastal city and capital Lima, Peru.
The mummy is estimated to be between 800 and 1200 years old.
Although the mummy’s striking pose – bound by ropes and in the foetal position – appears chilling at first sight, researchers believe it is a southern Peruvian funeral custom.
The tomb also contained ceramics, vegetable remains and stone tools.
Several marine molluscs were also discovered outside the tomb.
“After the body is placed in the tomb, there are constant events and activities,” Mr. Van Dalen Luna said.
“That is to say, their descendants keep coming back over many years and placing food and offerings there, including molluscs.”
The mummy, thought to be a male, likely predated the Inca civilization, which dominated the southern part of South America 500 years ago.
“The discovery of this resident sheds a new light on interactions and relationships in pre-Hispanic times,” one of the archaeologists who led the excavation, Pieter Van Dalen Luna said.
It’s thought the man was aged about 25 to 30 years old and was likely an important person in contemporary society.
The findings indicate the area was likely multiethnic and would have been occupied by settlers from the coast and the mountains, according to information released by the university.
Archaeologist Yomira Huamán Santillán told CNN the discovery came as a surprise as the team was not searching for a mummy.
“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.”