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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Picture gallery: Inca mummies
Archaeologists have discovered thousands of mummies in a shanty town close to the Peruvian capital, Lima. Many of the bodies are beautifully preserved, with headdresses and woven cloths still wrapped around their bodies, and tattoos still visible on the skin.

Peruvian villager prepares mummy for removal from the uncovered Inca cemetery
Archaeologists say the area was probably a major cemetery for the Incas between about 1480 and 1535

Archaeologist Guillermo Cock examines a skull with the headdress still intact
Some of the mummies were found still wearing headdresses, which marked them out as wealthy individuals

Skull with hair on found at site
Two generations of people are thought to be buried in the cemetery

Statue and scarf found alongside bodies recovered from the site
Objects such as this clay statue (l) and woven scarf (r) were found next to bodies

Archaeologist Guillermo Cock examines the skull of a mummy
But archaeologists must work quickly before the site is levelled for urban development...

Archaeologist Guillermo Cock with store of wrapped up mummies
... and there are fears they may never uncover all of what lies underneath the shanty town
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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Louise Bevan
"This discovery has created huge interest"
See also:

17 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Mummy trove found in Peru
23 Jun 01 | Americas
Peru 'ignoring threat' to Inca site
04 Sep 01 | Arts
Peru museum's 'fake' gold
16 Apr 99 | Sci/Tech
Mountain mummy is baby
01 Apr 01 | Middle East
Egypt seeks money for mummies
06 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Peru
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