Scientists discovered five mummies, including four children, at the Huaca La Florida site, estimated to be at least 1,000 years old.

One of the mummies found in Huaca La Florida, Peru. Photo: Reuters/Anthony Marina

Five newly discovered mummies most likely belong to the Ychsma culture, CBS News reported on November 23. This is a pre-Inca culture that developed on the central coast of Peru around 900 – 1450.

The mummies are located near a small hill with stairs, which could lead to a temple about 3,500 years old, according to Luis Takuda, the archaeologist leading the Huaca La Florida research project. Takuda said there were three mummies wrapped in cloth, the remaining two mummies were skeletons with skulls still containing hair.

The research team believes that the entire area where the 5 mummies were excavated was a place where sacred rituals took place. “It was a very important ceremonial center, which the Ychsma people considered a sacred space so they buried their dead here,” Takuda said.

This is not the first time scientists have found mummies or remains with hair like this. In September, they also unearthed a thousand-year-old mummy with long hair still quite intact. This mummy was buried in a simple circular tomb atop the Huaca Pucllana pyramid in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru.

Archaeologist Hector Walde said that the five Ychsma mummies were not sacrificed but were buried in a sacred space. The mummies were located near several houses and a soccer field where a Peruvian professional soccer team used to practice. The hill where the mummies were discovered was covered in trash and excavators had to work for months to clear it. Police also evacuated homeless people in the area.

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