Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of 79 Chachapoyans while carrying out restoration work at the fortress of Kuélap in Northern Peru.
Kuélap continues surprising. Works carried out to restore sectors of the citadel, the north’s “Machu Picchu”, damaged by rain and unsupervised tourists have accidentally revealed the final resting place of 79 people – inside one of the site’s walls.
According to project director Alfredo Narváez, because of the high humidity of the site, found at the rim of the Andes’ descent into the Amazon rainforest, the bodies haven’t been conserved, nor has any fabric from clothes or burial clothes.
“Most of the remains are adult bones, but we don’t discard the possibility that there are also adolescents. The remains belong to the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. of the Chachapoyas culture”, he explains.
The researchers have confirmed that these are secondary burials – bodies that have been exhumed to be reburied elsewhere, a common theme in the Andean world.
“The construction of Kuélap required the labour of many communities, and while constructing a site of such importance and one that was so sacred, those involved in the construction would have taken their dead to be reburied there”.
Narváez adds that because of financial problems a full study on the remains and the area they were found won’t begin until the end of this year, after which they will be taken to a museum.
The team has been working on the rehabilitation of a group of 27 newly recorded buildings located in the southern sector of the fortress. They hope to find out more about this area of the citadel in the process.
35 sections of Kuélap considered to be in danger of collapse due to lack of maintenance and the passing of time have already been restored up to 60%.
Narváez warns though that the outer wall, the Pueblo Alto wall and the two entrances have been declared in a state of emergency and are in urgent need of attention.