A 3,000-year-old mummy surrounded by coca leaves and shells was found on a hilltop near the Peruvian capital, Lima. The find was made on the training field of a professional soccer club, which may seem unusual. The mummy was buried about 1 meter deep and was found lying face up with long black hair. The mummy’s lower limbs were bound with a woven rope of plant material, and there were rocks around the skeleton. This suggests that the body was buried as part of a ritual.
It is known that the burial site was on top of a U-shaped clay temple, typical of some pre-Hispanic structures. Although radiocarbon dating has not yet been done to fully determine the age of the mummy, experts believe it may be about 3,000 years old. “[It] was left or offered (as a sacrifice) during the last phase of the construction of this temple,” said archaeologist Miguel Aguilar.
The male skeleton was found with old fly eggs next to the body, leading researchers to believe that the body may have remained open for days before it was covered. The hill found in Rimaca was known as a “ouaca,” which means sacred place in Quechua. According to Aguilar, the mummy was probably from the Mancha culture, which were known for building their temples in the shape of the letter U, indicating the sunrise.
This find is not the first of its kind in Peru. Last year, another mummy was discovered that was also bound with ropes and dated between 1200 and 800 years ago.
According to National Geographic, coca is one of the most important cultural and religious plants for the Andean Indians. They use it to treat illnesses and as a means of achieving trance and communicating with ancestral spirits. Coca leaves are also used as a symbol of well-being and prosperity.
Seashells found around mummies also have their own religious and cultural significance. In ancient civilizations, sea shells were used as jewelry and amulets, as well as for rituals and sacrifices.
According to archaeologist Miguel Aguilar, the find is very important for the study of the ancient history of Peru. It will help decipher the cultural and religious practices of ancient civilizations and understand how they interacted with the environment.
Although the mummy was found on the soccer club’s practice field, this is not the first time ancient artifacts have been found on sports facilities. In 2014, ancient remains were found buried under a soccer field in Mexico.