Pre-Hispanic Tomb Discovered in Sanctuary of Machu Picchu

By Dialogo
May 14, 2009

The grave of a young man between 16 and 18 years old, accompanied by valuable furniture, was discovered in the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Peru, in the southern Andean region of Cuzco, the National Institute of Culture (INC) reported today. The finding, located in the archeological site of Torontoy, is part of the sanctuary which also includes the famous citadel of Machu Picchu, and was discovered by INC specialists while performing restoration work and archaeological research. The remains were found 40 centimeters beneath the surface, and the interior of the tomb shows a filling of stones forming a drainage system, and a row of rocks that line its entrance. The young man was buried facing the east and in a flexed position, and his teeth show that he frequently consumed grain, INC told the official agency Andina. Found alongside the human remains was a complete layette, including a boiling pot, a red glass decorated with black stripes, a pot decorated with a snake, a broken plate, and a copper needle. This was not the only important archaeological contribution announced this week, as last Monday sixty tombs of different pre-Hispanic cultures, including the Inca, were discovered in the city of Arequipa, in the country's southeast. The regional director of the INC in Arequipa, Franz Grupp, said today that the quality of the objects found in tombs confirms that the people who were buried in them between the years 1200 and 1500 AD belonged to the nobility. Grupp told Andina that fewer than ten of the tombs found "were complete." "The others, throughout the last five centuries, have been rummaged and looted," said the representative of the INC, who explained that the area was used during colonial times as farmland and then as a park. According to Grupp, the mix of cultures present in the ceramics found in the tombs of the newly-discovered cemetery demonstrates "long-standing cultural twinning” and “the reception that Arequipa’s people afforded to the first outsiders.” The regional head of the INC announced that an in-site museum will be built in the area, with a budget, design, and implementation schedule to be defined in the coming days. "The idea is to let people tour via a trail system throughout the excavation area, which is approximately 200 meters square, while the recovered objects will be in a building with graphic and written information about the meaning of these graves," he said.