Six mummies of children, probably sacrificed 1,000 years ago to accompany an official to the afterlife, have come to light at an archaeological site near Lima.

“We have found the remains of six mummified children near the tomb of an elite figure whose mummy was unearthed last November,” said archaeologist Pieter Van Dalen, chief of excavations at the Cajamarquilla site 24kms east of Lima.

Archaeologists believe the children were sacrificed and that they may have been members of the official’s family. The mummies date back to 800-1000 AD, i.e. they predate the Inca era by a few centuries.

The remains of seven adults, who had not been mummified, were found a short distance away.

Since November 2021, archaeologists from the University of San Marcos have found a total of 14 remains in Cajamarquilla. In November, the mummy of the official was unearthed, positioned so that his hands cover his face. Scientists estimate that he was an 18 to 22 year old man who was buried in a conical chamber, at a depth of 1.40 meters. It seems that despite his age he had special “economic and social prestige”, Van Dalen explained.

Cajamarquilla was an important urban center with a population of 10-20,000. It was founded around 200 BC. and inhabited until the 16th century.