The burial of an individual dating back 3,000 years has recently been discovered at the Pacopampa archaeological site, located in the Cajamarca region, north of Lima. According to archaeologist Juan Pablo Villanueva, the funerary context is in perfect condition and belongs to one of the first priests of the Andes, accompanied by various offerings.
The body of the priest, placed in an extended position with the lower extremities semiflexed, is oriented from south to north. Next to the body, small spherical ceramic bowls, a carved bone spatula, and other offerings have been deposited. Two seals were also found, one with anthropomorphic designs and the other with the image of a jaguar.
The priest and his offerings were covered by several layers of ash and earth, arranged as fill in the tomb. The tomb itself is a circular hole with a diameter of three meters and a depth of one meter.
Japanese archaeologist Yuji Seki, who has worked at the site for 18 years, considers this find to be of great relevance, as it represents one of the first priests to control temples in the northern Andes of the country, approximately around the year 1,000 BC.
This discovery challenges the previous idea that powerful leaders in the Andes appeared later in history. The same group of archaeologists had previously found the tomb of the “Priest of the Pututos” in September 2022, along with musical instruments made of seashells.
Pacopampa, located at an altitude of 2,500 meters, has nine buildings made of polished and carved stone, stairs, and an extension of 1.5 kilometers. In previous years, on the same site, other burials had been discovered, such as those of the “Lady of Pacopampa” in 2009 and those of the “Jaguar Serpent Priests” in 2015, with estimated ages between 700 and 600 years BC. Experts from the Museum of Ethnology of Japan and the National University of San Marcos of Peru collaborate in this archaeological project.