Peruvian gas workers made an astonishing discovery beneath the ancient streets of Lima this week — uncovering eight mummies and a number of Pre-Inca artifacts.
“We are recovering those leaves of the lost history of Lima that is just hidden under the tracks and streets,” said Jesus Bahamonde, an archaeologist with Calidda, the company that distributes natural gas to the 10 million residents of Peru’s capital city.
Since the company began expanding its gas line system nearly two decades ago, they’ve racked up more than 1,900 archeological finds — including mummies, pottery, and textiles, Bahamonde said.
In the most recent discovery, the eight mummified males were found bundled up in the trench, wrapped in cotton cloth and tied with ropes braided from vines. Workers found the bodies about a foot below the ground.
Archeologists with the gas company believe the men belonged to a pre-Inca culture called Ichma, which formed around A.D. 1100 and flourished in the valleys around Lima until it was absorbed into the Inca Empire in the late 15th century.
Roberto Quispe, an archeologist who worked in the trench, told the Associated Press the mummified bodies are likely two adults and six minors.
Lima, now an urban economic hub, has been occupied by humans for more than 10,000 years, from the Pre-Incan cultures to the Spanish conquistadors who claimed the land in the 16th century.
Many archeological finds have proven to be from more recent times.
In 2018, Quispe and other archaeologists working in the La Flor neighborhood found wooden coffins holding three Chinese immigrants buried in the 19th century.
The bodies were found alongside opium pipes, hand-rolled cigarettes, shoes, Chinese playing cards, a Peruvian silver coin minted in 1898 and a certificate of completion of employment contract, written and Spanish and dated 1875.
The eight mummies were found amidst braised chicken restaurants and a road that leads to Peru’s only nuclear power station.
“When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century they found an entire population living in the three valleys that today occupy Lima … what we have is a kind of historical continuation,” Bahamonde said.
Most of the archaeological sites uncovered by Calidda have been burial sites discovered on flat ground, Bahamonde said.
Aso scattered throughout the urbanized city are more than 400 larger archeological sites, known in the indigenous Quechua language as “huacas,” which are sacred adobe constructions typically found on hilltops.
With Post wires
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