|The Leymebamba Museum in Peru was inaugurated in 2000, specifically to house 200 mummies and their burial offerings. The mummies were recovered during a 1997 excavation on the banks of Laguna de los Cóndores, a lake about 50 miles south of Chachapoyas. The mummies are from the Chachapoyas culture from about 800 AD. |
Nestled into the limestone cliffs around the lake were a series of chullpas, or tombs. The stone burial structures had been untouched for 500 years, until local farmers started to rummage through the funerary site.
|The Chachapoya were skilled embalmers. They treated the skin and vacated bodily cavities. Then they left much of the remaining mummification process to the cold, dry, sheltered lakeside ledges.|
|It’s an unnerving sight for some. A few of the mummies stare back with pained expressions, an occasional face so well-preserved that it looks like it would blink. A few bundled babies also sit on the shelves, their tiny bodies carefully wrapped in cloth.|
Now in the controlled climate of the museum the mummies found a new resting place. Here they sit huddled together like a lost tribe, eternally silent.
|They are exhibited in semi-darkness, at the same temperature and moisture as the mausoleum where they were deposited.|