A 1,700-year-old lead coffin has been unearthed in a field. The Roman artefact, thought to contain the remains of a child, has been described as a “unique find” and the first of its…
(Source: Leicester Mercury)
PERU’S WARRIORS OF THE CLOUDS
High on a remote cliffside in northern Peru, a line of sentinels gaze out from a ledge, their unblinking eyes painted onto clay faces that guard the mummified occupants within. These are the purunmachu – sarcophagi – in which the Chachapoya people, placed their dead.
Warriors of the clouds
By the time the Spanish arrived in Peru at the beginning of the 16th Century the Chachapoya people had already been conquered and absorbed in to the Inca Empire. Although they had resisted, the lands of these Warriors of the Clouds had been annexed and the people forced to adopt the customs and culture of their conquerors. However, they left one thing behind as a monument to their existence – the strange sarcophagi.
Thirty miles away from the city of Chachapoyas lies the Utcubamba valley where in 1928 an earthquake shook the hills and revealed a seven foot tall clay square-jawed figure that had tumbled from a high cliff.
An incredibly rare find
Archaeologists were called in to investigate further, as this represented an incredibly rare find. Most purunmachus had either been partially or totally destroyed by looters in the past, but the archaeologists found seven more on the high cliff where their inaccessibility prevented the same fate as the others.
Carbon 14 dating at some time later was carried out on the mummies and the results placed them around the 1470s – the time that the Inca overwhelmed the Chachapoya people.
(Source: Past Horizons)