Arranged in the fetal position, this skeleton is among some 80 bodies discovered this spring in a vast Peruvian tombâ€”the largest yet found at the ancient site of Pachacamac. Buried a thousand years ago with wooden “false heads,” the now decayed mummies were unearthed within a perimeter of infant human remains.
Once covered by a thatch roof, the tomb may have been a final resting place for diseased pilgrims drawn by promises of miracle cures, reports a team led by archaeologist Peter Eeckhout of UniversitÃ© libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.
As for the babies, Eeckhout doesn’t rule out that they may have been sacrificed. It’s just one more riddle of the Ychsma (pronounced EESH-MA)â€”the little-understood pre-Inca people who built their largest known city at Pachacamac, he said.