Archaeologists unearth 3,000-year-old tomb of a priest

The tomb was found at the Pacopampa archaeological site in Peru.
Sejal Sharma
The tomb of the Priest 3000 years old
The tomb of the Priest 3000 years old

Ministry of Culture, Peru 

Archaeologists from Japan and Peru have discovered a 3,000-year-old tomb in northern Peru that is thought to be a tribute to a priest. 

The tomb was found in the Pacopampa archaeological site in the Cajamarca region, about 560 miles (900 kilometers) north of the Peruvian capital, Lima. The priest is thought to be among the first priestly leaders of the region's temples.

The team of archeologists notified Peru’s Ministry of Culture of the discovery on August 24, as per a press release translated into English.

Found alongside ceramic offerings

"He is one of the first priests in the Andes to have a series of offerings," said archaeologist Juan Pablo Villanueva, and added that "the funerary context is intact.” By funerary context, the archaeologist was referring to the remains of the dead and the contexts within which they were found.

The team had begun their research of the tomb in July this year and wanted to find any associations it might have with another discovery they had made in September last year. The team had discovered the "Tomb of the Priest of the Pututus," which had musical instruments made of seashells along the tomb. Pututos or pututus are conch-like shells that the inhabitants of ancient Peru could use to make trumpet-like sounds, explained Phys.Org.

The funerary context of the tomb

The recent tomb discovered by the team comprises a large circular hole one meter deep. Researchers have found that the tomb provides a funerary context corresponding to the Pacopampa I phase, set from 2500 BC to 0 AD. It is estimated that the remains unearthed could have been buried around 1200 BC.

Along with the body of the priest, there were small spherical ceramic bowls as offerings surrounding the tomb, which was covered with six layers of ash mixed with black earth.

The researchers emphasized that the bowls had stamps on them, which was part of an ancient ritual technique practiced for an important member of the community, such as a priest. Next to the edges of the tomb, two seals were found – one with an anthropomorphic face design and another with a jaguar design.

The Pacopampa Archaeological Project has been running since 2005 and their research work is integral to the Pacopampina and Chotana community. Their work involves researching evidence and cultural assets that contribute to the social, economic, and cultural development of the communities.

Interesting Engineering had earlier reported that Peruvian archaeologists had unearthed over 1,000-year-old mummy in April on the outskirts of Lima. Similar to the tomb of the priest, the mummified woman was discovered in a "good state of conservation."

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