The “Rope-Bound Mummy” Is Finally Freed From the Rope After 1200 Years

August 20, 2023

Archaeologists have unearthed a mummy dating back around 1,000 years at the site of Cajamarquilla in Peru. The researchers discovered the mummy lying in a fetal position and bound by rope.

At the time the mummy was buried, Cajamarquilla was a thriving city located on the right bank of the Rímac river about 16 miles (25 kilometers) inland, and was a place where people from the coastal and mountainous areas of Peru engaged in trade, researchers said in a statement(opens in new tab). More than 10,000 people might have lived in the city at the time, the researchers said.

The well-preserved mummy was found in an underground tomb with a seven-step staircase leading down to it, researchers said. The mummy, a male between 18 and 22 years old when he died, was found covered in a textile, their body wrapped in rope — a common practice for those who lived in mountainous areas close to Cajamarquilla, the researchers said.

The remains of a dog and an Andean guinea pig were found beside the mummy, along with corn and the remains of other vegetables, Pieter Van Dalen Luna, an archaeology professor at the National University of San Marcos who led the team, said in another statement(opens in new tab). The researchers said that the buried man died sometime between 1,200 and 800 years ago, and he may have been the son of a wealthy merchant.

Family members would have visited his tomb at times after his burial to give offerings. “After the body is placed in the tomb, there are constant events and activities,” Van Dalen Luna told CNN.

“That is to say, their descendants keep coming back over many years and placing food and offerings there, including molluscs.” He noted that llama bones were found outside the tomb and may have been cooked by visitors who brought those bones as offerings.

The mummy is now being displayed at the National University of San Marcos’s museum. Analysis of the mummy is ongoing. Van Dalen Luna did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.