Archaeologists Reveal the Face of Peru’s ‘Ice Maiden’ Mummy
In a remarkable unveiling, the potential true appearance of “Juanita,” Peru’s iconic mummy, a teenage Inca girl sacrificed over half a millennium ago on the lofty Andean peaks, has been revealed.
A life like sculpture revealing the potential living face of Peru’s most famous mummy, a teenage Inca girl sacrificed in a ritual over 500 years ago on the Andean peaks, has been unveiled.
The reconstructed mummy, known as “Juanita” or “The Ice Maiden”, is the result of collaborative efforts between a team of Polish and Peruvian scientists, in conjunction with Oscar Nilsson, a Swedish sculptor renowned for his expertise in facial reconstructions.
Johan Reinhard, the US anthropologist who found the mummy said he could not have imagined having a precise reconstruction of the mummy.
It took over 400 hours for Nilsson to reconstruct “Juanita,” from the research given by the Polish team.
Who was “The Ice Maiden”?
Reinhard and his Peruvian climbing partner, Miguel Zárate, discovered the mummy in 1995 at an altitude of more than 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) on the snow-capped Ampato volcano.
Juanita, the mummy, was almost entirely preserved in a frozen state, retaining her internal organs, hair, blood, skin, and even the contents of her stomach.
In addition to the mummy, they stumbled upon a multitude of items that had been left as offerings to the Inca gods.
These included llama bones, small figurines, and fragments of pottery, scattered across the mountain slope from which the body had tumbled down.
Anthropological research places the sacrificial date of Juanita between A.D. 1440 and 1450 when she was aged between 13 and 15.
The likely cause of her death was identified as a severe blow to the right occipital lobe, as determined by researchers at Johns Hopkins University who conducted a CT scan.
She is considered one of the best-preserved mummies in the Andes and her remains can currently be viewed at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa, Peru
Archaeologists Have Discovered a 3,200-Year-Old Mural of a Knife-Wielding Spider God in Peru
Archaeologists have discovered a 3,200-year-old mural of a spider god at an ancient temple complex in northern Peru’s Virú province, around 300 miles north of Lima.
The painting, in shades of ochre, yellow, gray, and white, was found on the side of an adobe structure made from mud bricks, reports the Guardian. The zoomorphic design is believed to represent a spider wielding a knife.
Local avocado and sugarcane farmers discovered the historic artwork in November while using heavy machinery to plow new fields, which inadvertently destroyed about 60 percent of the site. Because it is located near a river, the temple was likely dedicated to water deities.
“What we have here is a shrine that would have been a ceremonial center thousands of years ago,” archaeologist Régulo Franco Jordán told Peru’s La República newspaper.
“The spider on the shrine is associated with water and was an incredibly important animal in pre-Hispanic cultures, which lived according to a ceremonial calendar.
It’s likely that there was a special, sacred water ceremony held between January and March when the rains came down from the higher areas.”
Jordán was called to investigate the discovery by a friend who lives in the area. “When I arrived I was so surprised to see an impressive facade, with geometric figures,” he told Peruvian state news agency Andina.
The shrine was likely the work of Peru’s pre-Columbian Cupisnique culture, a people who lived on the nation’s northern coast more than 3,000 years ago. Jordán has christened the site Tomabalito, after Castillo de Tomabal, another nearby archaeological site.
The government plans to begin emergency work to preserve the find next week, and has filed a complaint against the famers who damaged the ancient temple, reports Andina. Further excavations are planned for after the pandemic.
Other recent archaeological discoveries in Peru include a new Nazca line geoglyph of a giant cat, which was discovered in October. The massive hilltop drawing is believed to date to between 200 BC and 100 BC.
1,000-Year-Old Skeletons ‘Wrapped in Textiles’ and ‘Buried in Seated Position’ Looking Out to Sea
The remains of four bodies dating back to 1,000AD have been discovered in a strange sitting position in a series of tombs.
Archaeologists discovered the skeletons of three adult women and one man in the middle of a residential neighbourhood in Lima, Peru
They are part of a civilisation that dominated Peru before the rise of the Inca, and while the remains appear to have decomposed, archaeologists believe they were once wrapped in textiles in an attempt to mummify them.
The four skeletons, which were found in separate tombs, were part of the ancient Ichma culture that formed following the break-up of the South American Wari Empire before later being absorbed into the Inca Empire.
The figures, some of which still have hair, were found seated, looking out towards the sea, alongside offerings such as ceramics and weaving tools. The exact reason for this position is still unclear, but archaeologists believe it must have had some ritual significance. The Incas, and likely cultures before them including the Ichma, believed there was a link between the living and the gods.
Some of the skeletons still have hair and were found buried along with ceramic pots and weaving tools (pictured). While the remains appear to have decomposed, archaeologists believe they were once wrapped in cloth in an attempt to mummify them
As a result, mummies would be ‘consulted’ on important occasions and were often given ‘places of honour’ near temples and on high ground.
The living used artificial techniques such as embalming and drying out the flesh, known as desiccation, to preserve their Dead.
Spanish conquerors during the 16th century were reportedly so disgusted by the ritual that they destroyed many mummies after looting their graves.
This may explain the lack of other artefacts, and even the cloth the mummies were wrapped in, in the newly-discovered tombs.
It is the latest in a number of ancient tombs to be discovered in Peru’s capital, but these are among the first from the Ichma, or Ychsma era, helping to provide new clues about this little-known, early culture.
Isabel Flores, an archaeologist and director of the excavation at Huaca Pucllana, the ancient ceremonial complex in the Miraflores district of Lima where the skeletons were found, said: ‘There are four human burial sites, for adult individuals, three women and one man, who lived between the years 1000 to 1450.
‘These are the first four tombs of the Ichma culture. We think that we may still find more.’
The discovery of the tombs has allowed archaeologists to confirm that the Ichma culture, which dominated the central coast of Peru, had a foothold in Lima.
It dominated the area south of Lima in the Lurin Valley from 1,000AD and later spread north into the Rimac Valley.
It was later absorbed into the Inca Empire in around 1440.
It is known that the Wari culture, which emerged around 600AD, had used the large temple complexes in the area that is now covered by the Peruvian capital.
Archaeologists believe Huaca Pucllana was initially built, however, by the Lima culture who lived there in around 200AD. There are around 350 of these ‘huacas’, or ceremonial complexes in Lima which predate Spanish colonisation.
The Ichma people are credited with constructing at least 16 including the Huaca Huantille in the Magdalena del Mar and the Huaca San Borja in the San Borja District.
In the Huaca Huantille, at least nine mummies have been discovered, buried with ceramic items and jewellery.
Excavations in Pachacamac found a further 80 mummies in a burial chamber. In 2013, the remains of three skeletons from the Ichma culture were uncovered at a nearby site just a few yards from Peru’s national football stadium in Lima.
Dr Flores said: ‘So this is the first district in the country that has more than 1,500 years of known history to date.’
Recently new analysis techniques have enabled scientists to learn new details about the ancient mummified remains of people from the Incan civilisation and those that came before them.
The mummified bodies of children who died around 500 years ago have been discovered in remote parts of the Andes, thought to be victims of an ancient ritual sacrifice called capacocha. The children were drugged before being taken into the mountains to die, where the freezing dry climate preserved their bodies.
Man in Peru Caught Out Drinking With an 800-year-old Mummy!
A pre-Hispanic mummy of between 600 and 800 years old, was found inside the backpack of a delivery man from a delivery company in the Peruvian region of Puno, near Bolivia.
The 26-year-old Peruvian man who was caught with the mummy said, ‘Juanita’ was a kind of ‘spiritual girlfriend’ he kept it at home “and took it out to show his friends.”
Drunk in Charge of a Mummy
The police found three young men accompanied by a mummy that was inside a thermal delivery suitcase. The discovery occurred on Saturday, February 25, 2023, in the city of Puno, in southern Peru.
The group of friends was surprised by the police authorities in a routine check while they were consuming alcoholic beverages at the Mantaro viewpoint of Puno.
The 26-year-old had with him a delivery box from the company ‘Pedidos Ya’. Inside, there were human remains in a fetal position still bearing soft tissues with characteristics corresponding to a mummy.
According to the BBC , the young man described the mummy as ‘a kind of spiritual girlfriend’ as he had been sharing his room with it for some time.
The mummy was supposedly owned by his father, and was generally kept in a box next to the TV. It is unknown how the mummy came to be owned by his father.
The Ministry of Culture specified through a statement that the remains – classified as a national cultural asset – were identified as a mummified adult man presumably from the eastern area of Puno.
Sources from that office informed EFE that the individual would have been over 45 years old and approximately 1.51 meters (5 foot) tall, according to preliminary investigations.
An Odd Housemate
The authorities estimate that the human remains were 800 years old, and would likely come from the district of Patambuco. Apparently, they had been in the possession of the family for about 30 years, the authorities from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture informed various local media.
The delivery man stated that the mummy was kept at his parents’ house and that he took it out to be seen by his friends from the neighborhood, according to the newspaper El Comercio .
The police confiscated the mummy and turned it over to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. The delivery man and his two friends, aged between 23 and 26, have been detained and are being investigated for possible crimes against the country’s cultural heritage.
1,200-year-old Remains of Sacrificed Adults and Kids Unearthed in Peru
Peruvian archeologists have unearthed eight children and 12 adults apparently sacrificed around 800-1,200 years ago, they said on Tuesday, in a major dig at the pre-Incan Cajamarquilla complex east of Lima.
The remains were outside an underground tomb where the team from Peru’s San Marcos University found November an ancient mummy thought to be a VIP bound with ropes, in a fetal position.
Archaeologist Pieter Van Dalen said the bodies, some mummified and others skeletons, were wrapped in various layers of textiles as part of ancient pre-Hispanic ritual, and had likely been sacrificed to accompany the main mummy.
“For them, death was not the end, but rather a transition to a parallel world where the dead lived,” Van Dalen told a news conference. “They thought that the souls of the dead became protectors of the living.”
Van Dalen said the burial pattern was familiar, citing the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, a ruler from 1,700 years ago found along with children and adults sacrificed to be buried with him.
“This is precisely what we think and propose in the case of the mummy at Cajamarquilla, which would have been buried with these people,” he said. “As part of the ritual, evidence of violence has been found in some of the individuals.”
Yomira Huamán, part of the team, said that along with funeral items, there were musical artifacts such as the “zampoña,” a wind instrument of Andean origin with several wooden tubes in the form of flutes.
“Our investigations suggest the mummy of Cajamarquilla would be a man of approximately 35 years. This character did not have any organs, meaning he was eviscerated after death,” she said.
Peru is home to hundreds of archaeological sites of cultures that developed before and after the Inca Empire, which 500 years ago dominated the southern part of the continent, ranging from southern Ecuador and Colombia to central Chile.
“The complex has only been excavated 1%,” Huamán said. “I think Cajamarquilla has much more to say, much more to tell us.”
Archeologists in Peru found a 1,000-year-old adolescent mummy wrapped in a bundle
Archaeologists have unearthed a more than 1,000-year-old mummy on the outskirts of Peru’s capital, Lima.
The mummified adolescent was wrapped in a funerary bundle, with ceramic objects, rope, bits of skin, and hair nearby, and found in an underground tomb.
Archaeologists believe the mummy, found at an archaeological site in Cajamarquilla, is one of 20 buried in the area likely killed as a ritual sacrifice.
The mummified adolescent was found in a “good state of conservation,” said archaeologist Yomira Huaman, in charge of the Cajamarquilla research project affiliated with the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
The adolescent lived between 1,100 and 1,200 years ago and might have belonged to the Lima or Ichma cultures.
The mummy was discovered about 220 yards from where the first mummy of Cajamarquilla was found, explained Huaman, referring to another mummy found nearby last year.
‘From the ceramic analysis, we have identified that it was mostly occupied by the coastal presence, the late Lima culture, also a strong influence of the Ichma culture,’ said Huaman.
The way the teen was buried was unlike other mummies that have been discovered in the past.
Most bodies in Cajamarquilla have been found in simple tombs or funeral chambers, while the adolescent was found in what appeared to be a storage container.
Archaeologists, also they have uncovered the ruins of four pyramid-shaped temples and walls laid out almost like a maze.
While best known for the mountaintop Inca royal retreat of Machu Picchu, Peru was home to a number of pre-Hispanic cultures that flourished in the centuries before the Inca empire rose to power, primarily along the country’s central coast and in the Andes.
The Lima civilization was known for its ceramic artwork, which included styles such as Maranga and interlocking patterns that reflected the nearby Moche culture.
Scientists Discover 168 Mysterious Nazca Geoglyphs in The Desert Sands of Peru
The Nazca desert in Peru is like an art gallery for the gods above. Yet even with decades of surveillance from the skies, we’ve barely explored a small wing of this fading collection of giants among the stones.
Last year, an archaeologist in Peru told The Guardian he thought scientists had found only 5 percent of all the Nazca lines out there in the desert.
Researchers at Yamagata University in Japan are now working with local archaeologists to change that, and their latest haul of ancient lines nearly doubles the previous number of known designs.
Drone surveys and aerial images in southern Peru have now identified 168 new geoglyphs in the Nazca Lines World Heritage Site, with roughly 50 of these large-scale geographical drawings depicting human-like figures.
One of the humanoid illustrations even appears to be sporting a bit of facial hair, Homer Simpson-style.
Some of the other designs etched into the landscape feature birds, orcas, cats, and snakes. A few are just simple lines or trapezoidal patterns.
It’s hard to say when the designs were made, but clay pots found near the lines date back to a time between 100 BCE and 300 CE.
Many of the ancient illustrations are scratched into a flat terrain, making them difficult to see from nearby vantage points. Because the lines were constructed through the removal of rocks and debris to reveal contrasting-colored soil beneath, erosion has only contributed to difficulties in their discovery.
Drones have become our celestial eyes in the skies. These flying devices have allowed experts to glimpse the Nazca Lines with more clarity than ever before.
Some of the information they are gathering is even being analyzed by artificial intelligence programs, which can pick out different patterns faster and more reliably than the human eye. In 2019, a new Nazca line design was actually discovered by AI.
The Nazca lines are one of history’s most intriguing mysteries, and even if archaeologists find more, it might not bring us any closer to understanding their purpose.
For some inexplicable reason, between 500 BCE and 500 CE, societies in southern Peru constructed simple lines, shapes, and figures across the landscape, many of which can only be seen in their entirety from directly above.
The lines have been interpreted in numerous ways over the decades, but the most common explanation is that they were meant for gods in the sky who were looking down on humans. Another popular theory suggests these figures and patterns were drawn for ritualistic astronomical purposes and was meant to somehow reflect the stars.
In 1994, when a part of the Nazca desert was designated a World Heritage Site, only about 30 ‘geoglyphs’ had been found, and they were mostly of plants and animals.
As it turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg. By 2019, archaeologists had found nearly 200 geoglyphs in total, several of which depicted humanoid figures.
With these latest additions uncovered by researchers from Yamagata University, the official number of known Nazca lines is now 358.
In all likelihood, there are still many more ancient artworks hiding out there in the desert.
With permission from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, scientists at Yamagata have made it their mission to tally as many of these mysterious designs as they can. The team plans on mapping out the full length and width of the desert canvas along with the help of local archaeologists.
Archaeologists Discover Massive Underground World Belonging To A Long Lost Civilization In Peru
Researchers in Peru have discovered a complex underground world belonging to the ancient Chavín culture that has been identified as burial chambers that date back thousands of years.
The culture developed in the northern Andean highlands of Peru between 1,300 and 550 BC. The Chavín extended its influence to other civilizations along the coast.
The Ancient Chavin civilization developed advanced knowledge not only in metallurgy, but in soldering, and temperature control. The ancient Chavin used early techniques to develop refined gold work.
Not, researchers have discovered galleries, ceramics and even a place where this civilization carried out burials, located beneath the surface. They say it’s the most important archaeological discovery made in the last 50 years.
Since June of 2018, a team of archaeologists has unearthed three new galleries in an area adjacent to the circular plaza of Chavín. In the place, they found remarkable pieces of ceramics, utensils and intact human burials.
According to an American anthropologist and archaeologist John Rick, in charge of the Archaeological and Conservation Research Program of Chavín, the three discovered galleries come from the late period of this civilization that developed between 1,300 and 550 BC.
“What these galleries show is that Chavín has a much larger underground world than we think,” said Rick.
Inside one of these underground galleries, archaeologists discovered artifacts that belonged to the later Huaraz culture.
These successive occupations, found at different levels in the archaeological complex demonstrate the cultural and religious importance that Chavin had in the central highlands for centuries.
The project’s specialists used small robots with built-in micro-cameras to carry out the explorations. These machines – designed on-site by engineers from Stanford University – entered very small areas and discovered cavities in the Chavin labyrinths, where pottery was preserved.
Chavin de Huantar was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. So far 35 interconnected underground passageways have been found at the site, Peru’s culture ministry said.
1,200-Year-Old Ceremonial Temple with Six Female Sacrifice Victims Unearthed in Peru
In a 1,200-year-old ceremonial temple in Peru, archeologists have unearthed the remains of six women, believed to be connected to the Lambayeque culture, who appear to have been killed in a ritual sacrifice at a secret compound.
According to PeruThisWeek.com, the six women were most probably ritually killed in a secret part of the temple, where archeologists also found remains of llama and ceramics. The bodies were buried beneath the ancient temple in the Pucalá district of Peru. All of the women had been positioned into unusual shapes so that their heads were facing the Andes mountain range.
Edgar Bracamonte, the head of the Peruvian group of archaeologist told Daily Mail : “We have discovered a temple around 1,200-years-old and which was a secret enclosure that priests used to sacrifice women to their gods.
It was used for private ceremonies. It has platforms and a central ramp that was covered with earth, where they left a large quantity of offerings. We found six buried women in different places.’”
The Mysterious Lambayeque culture
The Lambayeque culture, also known as the Sican culture, dominated the north coast of Peru between 750 and 1375 AD, probably succeeding the Moche culture. The Lambayeque built large religious cities dominated by huge temples.
As Edgar Bracamonte said for Daily Mail : ”What caught our attention was the unusual position of a young woman of around 24-years-old. She was positioned in the center of the ramp together with a llama and ceramic pots. This finding is very important because it reveals to us a close relationship between the Mochicas and the Lambayeque culture.”
The unusual sacrifices predate the spread of the Inca civilization by several hundred years and the bodies were found at a temple that was once part of the Lambayeque culture. Moreover, the discovery proved the connections between different pre-Inca civilizations.
The bodies had been placed in the same direction, and were surrounded by artifacts that show similar rituals present in the Moche, Wari and Cajamarca civilizations.
The Cajamarca civilization flourished between 200AD and 800AD, the Moche between 100 AD and 800 AD, and the Wari civilization existed between 600 AD and 1100 AD. The Lambayeque culture endured until around 1375AD, and were followed by the Inca civilization.
The recent discovery at Pucalá is reminiscent of another finding made in 2013, in which Polish archeologists discovered a massive royal tomb full of mummified women . The analysis of the bodies provided clues about the enigmatic Wari empire that ruled the Andes before the Incas.
It was the first time that archeologists had discovered an imperial tomb of the Wari culture. The mausoleum, located at a coastal pyramid site called El Castillo de Huarmey, 185 miles north of Lima, contained gold pieces, ceramics and 63 skeletons that dated back about 1,300 years.
Most of the mummies were women sitting upright and buried with finely engraved ear pieces made of precious metal that were believed to be used only by men.
Around the royals were six skeletons which were lying on their bellies, in an extended position with their limbs arranged in different directions. The skeletons were not wrapped in textiles and appeared to have been sacrifices for the mummified elite.
The reason behind the human sacrifices of the Lambayeque culture , which are primarily connected with women, and less frequently with men, has remained a mystery for archeologists. At a site known as Huaca Loro, 24 sets of human remains belonging to females aged between 18 and 25 years were found.
The women had been sacrificed, possibly to accompany the elite males into the afterlife. However, at the site of Huaca Las Ventas, most of sacrifice victims were men. It is theorized that they were volunteers who were engaged in a ritual of the celebration of death.
Archaeologists find 3,000-year-old megalithic temple in Peru
A 3,000-year-old ancient temple has been discovered in Peru by a team of Peruvian archaeologists, who think it may have been used by pagans for ‘rituals of water worship’.
The religious monument is over 131ft long and is located in the springs of the Zaña Valley river about 500miles from Lima, the modern capital of Peru.
Inside the temple archaeologists found a square with an alter that was likely used to offer important fertility rituals with water taken from the Zaña Valley river.
The megalith structure was found at the Huaca El Toro site in the Lambayeque region of Peru by a team led by Walter Alva, the archaeologist who discovered the tomb of the Lord of Sipan in 1987.
The temple still features the remains of large stone blocks and a long staircase. ‘This discovery is unique because it is the only megalithic architecture in Lambayeque,’ said Dr Alva.
The site was discovered in October 2021 but the news of its finding was delayed to reduce the risk of treasure hunters taking artefacts that hadn’t been secured.
The temple comes from a time when water was considered divine and was used in a number of rituals and religious practices, researchers claim.
They were able to determine this temple was home to a cult that worshipped water by studying the way they alter is positioned and how it looks.
The altar includes holes similar to those found in other temples from the period. ‘This is typical of water altars that are in other places, and it is located in the springs of the Zaña Valley river’, Mr Alva said.
Mr Alva said they have identified a circular column, where evidence of sedimentation of rains and rituals was found.
‘This temple is facing the mountain. This place is strictly ceremonial because of the signs of burning that took place.’
‘The rituals were performed for fertility,’ he said. Stunning walls surround the monument and there is a central staircase that is 32ft wide and 49ft long.
The Peruvian team discovered 21 tombs on the site of the temple which is thought to date back to about 1,500 BC to 292 AD.
Inside the tombs, they found ceramic pieces and metal objects such as knives that were placed next to the graves.
Mr Alva says it is likely the tombs were later reused as 20 burial sites were from the later Inca Chimu culture which dates back to about 1,000 to 1,470 AD.
This isn’t the first major discovery made by Walter Alva and his team.
The archaeologist also discovered the tomb of the Lord of Sipan in 1987. Sipan was a ruler of Mochica culture and his remains were found intact in Northern Peru.
In 2007 he discovered a number of 4,000-year-old murals in Peru. They show a deer caught in a net and are thought to be the oldest murals in the Americas.