Peruvian archaeologists have unearthed a Spanish colonial tomb containing 42 human burials in a former hospital built in 1552 in the historic center of Lima.
The discovery was made recently at the San Andres Hospital, one of the oldest colonial buildings in the Peruvian capital.
“We are in the oldest and best preserved cemetery in Lima, used from 1552 to 1808, where we found the remains of 42 bodies buried among men and women between the ages of 30 and 50,” said Louis Martin Boktanovich. The municipal plan to restore Lima’s historic center has been reported to the AFP.
Researchers have dug to a depth of just 30 centimeters to find dozens of bones, some of which are in perfect condition.
“People from different social classes were buried here,” said Boktanovich, whom he called “the basis of the history of the city of Lima.” In colonial times, there were no public cemeteries, and people, including Spaniards and Creole, came to the hospital to die when they fell ill.
After ceasing to operate, San Andres Hospital was converted into a convent for nuns in 1808, a home for abandoned children, and then a public school until 2007, when it was damaged by an earthquake.
An underground crypt, in the form of a vault brick structure buried by tall individuals, was discovered at the site.
“This is an exceptional discovery because (in general) the tombs are not well preserved even inside the church,” said archaeologist Hector Walde, head of the Archaeological Survey of Lima. ‘There are different causes of death, but the most notable of these is syphilis,’ Mr Walde explained.
The cemetery has an area of 150 square meters. Among the items found were tiles and ceramic pieces. According to experts, the mummies of the Inca emperors Huina Kabak, Bachagudek and Dubak Yupanki and their two wives were buried there.
‘The mummies have been removed from the Cusco where they were worshiped. There is evidence that the mummies were buried in the hospital, ‘said Mr Walde.
Lima was founded on January 18, 1535 by the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. From its base, it has been the capital of Peru.
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