Excavations at the Parque de las Leyendas Zoo in Lima, the capital city of Peru, have uncovered new human burials dating back some 1,300 years. Situated in the lower part of Huaca El Rosal at the Maranga Archaeological Complex, the site housed an ancient cemetery that had been in use during the final stage of the Lima occupation, archaeologists stated.
The pre-Hispanic cemetery was discovered in February 2018 by a team of Peruvian archaeologists, who at the time found three human burials – two adults and one child – at the site.
According to the researchers, the newly-found burial site contained the skeletal remains of two adults in a squat position, with their legs bent. One of them was accompanied by a pottery vessel, which was found lying near the heels of the buried person, towards the left side.
Another burial at the site featured the deceased’s face and torso turned towards the ground. The person’s hips were turned to the right, with the legs placed one on top of the other in the same direction. As per the archaeologists, the right arm had been placed under the pelvis at the time of the burial, while the left one was above the left leg. Given the peculiar posture and position of the head, the researchers believe that it could have been an offering.
Exploring The Ancient City Of Maranga
Located in the San Miguel district of Lima, Parque de las Leyendas is a zoo that has up to 215 species of mammals, reptiles and birds. In addition to being home to over 2071 animals, the park houses a botanical garden and an exceptional archaeological site containing the remnants of the ancient city of Maranga.
Believed to have been one of the most important pre-Columbian complexes along the central Peruvian coast, Maranga was established south of the Rimac River between present-day Lima and Callao. With the oldest parts of the site dating as far back as circa 200 AD, Maranga eventually grew into an important city, comprising 14 huge pyramids that were in turn surrounded by more than 50 smaller buildings.
At its peak, the city sprawled over an area of around 4 million square meters, making it one of Peru’s largest ancient sites. Among the ruins that have been unearthed over the last several years are huge monuments, temples, palaces and other administrative buildings.
Between 2016 and 2018 alone, for instance, more than 17 burials have been uncovered at Huaca El Rosal. Buried alongside the bodies were pottery vessels, bottles and stone tools, among other things.
Recently, in May 2018, archaeologists working in northern Peru unearthed the skeletal remains of around 140 children aged between five and 14. Known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, the pre-Columbian burial site, located near the present-day city of Trujillo, dates back more than 550 years.
According to John Verano, a Professor of Anthropology at the Tulane University in New Orleans, the children’s skeletons retrieved from the 7,500-square-feet Las Llamas site contained lesions on their sternum or breast bones, probably inflicted by a ceremonial knife of some kind. This, together with the dislocated rib cages, point to the possibility that the act entailed extracting the hearts of the children as a symbol of sacrifice.
Source/Image Credits: ANDINA