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Mummified Remains of Sacrificed Llamas Found in Peru

Monday, October 26, 2020

Peru Mummified LlamasALBERTA, CANADA—Live Science reports that Lidio Valdez of the University of Calgary and his colleagues discovered the naturally mummified remains of five young llamas thought to have been sacrificed by the Inca some 500 years ago at Tambo Viejo, an archaeological site on the coast of Peru. The animals wore colorful string necklaces and earrings, and had been decorated with red paint and the feathers of tropical birds attached to wooden sticks. One brown llama and three white ones were found beneath the clay floors of one building, in an area disturbed by looters. A single brown llama was found under the floor of a second building. Valdez said no cut marks have been found on the animals, but their legs had been tied, so they may have been buried alive to honor the gods as part of a huge feast. “The adornments suggest that the offerings were very special,” Valdez said. “Indeed, historical records indicate that brown llamas were sacrificed to the creator Viracocha, while white llamas to the sun, the Inca main deity.” A guinea pig was found with one of the white llamas, he added. Pits holding maize cobs, lima beans, guinea pigs, and a package of ash that may have been used when chewing coca leaf were also found near the three white llamas. To read about mass sacrifices of llamas and children at the site of Pampa la Cruz, go to "Peruvian Mass Sacrifice," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2019.

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