Huge Tomb Discovered in Peru With Over 80 Mummies, Some Infants

Huge Tomb Discovered in Peru With Over 80 Mummies, Some Infants

Huge Tomb Discovered in Peru With Over 80 Mummies, Some Infants

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May 23 2012 2:19 PM

Huge Tomb Discovered in Peru With Over 80 Mummies, Some Infants

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A security guard patrols within the perimeter of the Inca Sanctuary of Pachacamac ruin complex, 27 km south of Lima, Peru.

Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images

It’s like the beginning of an Indiana Jones movie, but it’s real.

A team of archaeologists has made an incredible find at Pachacamac, near Lima, Peru. Excavating directly in front of the temple, the team found an enormous burial chamber completely intact and containing more than 80 individual remains as well as ceramic vessels, animal remains, copper and gold alloy artifacts, and masks. A dozen newborn babies and infants were found around the perimeter, and the team is investigating whether they had been sacrificed.

Certain remains show the individuals suffered from serious illness, consistent with other skeletons found on the site, which researchers believe may have been a site where the sick sought a cure, a "Prehispanic Lourdes."

The artifacts date the tomb to around 1000 AD, and miraculously survived pillaging during the colonial period. UNESCO is reviewing the larger Pachacamac site for World Heritage Status—not surprising, especially considering this latest find. 

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.