© Archives of the Tambo Project of the University of Wrocław
The mummies wrapped in burial shrouds and mats. One of the dead has a bow.
Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław discovered more than 150 graves belonging to a previously unknown culture in Peru. The find, dated to the 4th-7th century AD, indicates that the northern part of the Atacama Desert had been inhabited by a farming community before the expansion of the Tiwanaku civilization.
The team from Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław has performed research in southern Peru since 2008. The cemetery was discovered in the Tambo River delta, in the northern part of the Atacama Desert. "These graves had been dug in the sand without any stone structures, and for this reason they were so difficult to locate that they have not fallen prey to robbers" - told PAP Prof. Józef Szykulski, leader of the research project, in which, in addition to Polish archaeologists, researchers from Peru and Colombia are also involved.
Desert conditions also preserved the contents of the graves. "These burials are of the virtually unknown people, who inhabited the area before the expansion of the Tiwanaku civilization. Items found in individual graves indicate that the people already had a clear social division" - said Prof. Szykulski.
In the tombs, archaeologists have found objects including massive headgear made of camelid wool, which could have the function of helmets. Some of the bodies were wrapped in mats, others in cotton burial shrouds, and others in nets, which means that one of the forms of activity of that culture was fishing.
"Inside some of the graves we have found bows and quivers with arrows tipped with obsidian heads. This is a very interesting find, because bows are a rarity in Peru" - said the archaeologist. Another interesting find is the skeleton of a young llama, which proves that the animal had been brought to the Tombo Delta earlier than thought.