Archaeologists have discovered a set of seven ancient tombs belonging to a group of elite individuals in Peru.
A team from National University of San Cristóbal de Huamanga (UNSCH) found the tombs at the Pallawcha Pampa archaeological site, which is located high up in the Peruvian Andes mountains in the province of Vilcas Huamán in the Ayacucho region, the Andina news agency reported.
Researchers said the tombs, which contain human remains, are likely around 2,900 years old—dating back to before the Wari, or Huari, culture. The Wari had a pre-Hispanic civilization that flourished in the south-central Andes and coastal areas of what is now Peru between roughly A.D. 500 and 1000
This civilization, which predates the Inca Empire, was the most important pre-Hispanic culture in the territory that makes up the modern Ayacucho region.
Edison Mendoza Martínez, the head of the UNSCH archaeological team, said the burials discovered at Pallawcha Pampa were the tombs of important figures, calling them “the Lords of Vilcas Huamán.”
Archaeologists found three mounds at the site’s surface level that were surrounded by terraces supported by large stone walls. The team also documented a large quantity of fragmented ceramics scattered around.
One of the mounds, known as Central Two, was particularly noteworthy, given that it contained the largest number of archaeological remains.
Excavations at this mound uncovered a circular structure and, beneath that, several holes covered by slabs.
“When excavating the holes, secondary burials were found—in some cases they were not only of a single individual but of several. As an offering, associated elements were found such as vessels,” Mendoza Martínez told the Andina Agency
During the excavations at the site, the team documented a group of funerary artifacts, including metal needles, rings and gold feathers. These objects indicate that the burials belonged to an elite group, the researchers said.
Mendoza Martínez said the team also found evidence, including complex architecture, that there was a later occupation of the site by the Wari.
The next step for the researchers is to carry out a DNA study to determine whether the people buried at the site were related by blood, as well as to conclusively date the remains.
Earlier this month, archaeologists announced the discovery of a mummy thought to be around 1,000 years old in Peru. The remains were buried in a grave at the top of a large clay pyramid structure in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
Also in September, archaeologists announced the discovery of ancient underground galleries at another site high up in the Peruvian Andes.
Source : Newsweek