Saturday, 18 January 2020

Mummies of Museo Leymebamba

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.