Unearthing Lima’s Hidden History: Gas Line Workers Discover Pre-Inca Funerary Scrolls

Unearthing Lima’s Hidden History: Gas Line Workers Discover Pre-Inca Funerary Scrolls

Some archaeologists describe Peru’s capital as an onion with many layers of history, others consider it a box of surprises. This is what some gas line workers found when excavation work revealed eight funerary scrolls dating back to the pre-Inca era.

“We are recovering the papers of Lima’s lost history hidden under the paths and streets,” Jesús Bahamonde, an archaeologist at Calida, the company that distributes natural gas in the city of 10 million, said Friday.

Bahamonde stated that the company’s excavations to expand its gas pipeline system over the past 19 years resulted in more than 1,900 archaeological finds of various types, including mummies, pottery and textiles, and these were mostly associated with burial sites on flat land.

The city also includes more than 400 large archaeological sites spread throughout the urban landscape.

These mud-brick buildings, known as huacas in the indigenous Quechua language, are located on hilltops that are considered sacred sites.

The number of ruins is not surprising, as the area now known as Lima was occupied for more than 10,000 years by pre-Inca cultures, then the Inca Empire itself and then the colonial culture brought by the Spanish in 1535.

Bahamonde showed the bundles of ancient men seated, wrapped in cotton cloth and tied with ropes braided from vines found in trenches 30 centimeters below the surface.

The company’s archaeologists believe the finds belong to a pre-Inca culture called the Ichma, which formed around 1100 AD and expanded across the valleys of what is now Lima until it was incorporated into the Inca Empire in the late 15th century.

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Archaeologist Roberto Quispe, who worked in the trench, reported that the funerary scrolls may have contained two adults and six minors.

Sometimes archaeological finds prove to be from more recent times. In 2018, Quispe and other archaeologists working in the La Flor neighborhood found wooden coffins bearing three Chinese immigrants buried in the 19th century.

Archaeologists found the bodies next to opium smoking pipes, handmade cigarettes, shoes, Chinese playing cards, a Peruvian silver coin minted in 1898, and a certificate of completion of a labor contract written in Spanish and dated 1875 on a farm south of Lima.

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2023-09-24 02:21:15

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