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Peru: Discovery Of A Cemetery From The Spanish Colonial Era In Lima

Peruvian archaeologists have unearthed a Spanish colonial-era cemetery comprising 42 human burials in a former hospital built in 1552 in the historic center of Lima.

The discovery was made recently in what was once San Andrés Hospital, one of the oldest colonial buildings in the Peruvian capital.

“We are in the oldest and best preserved cemetery in the city of Lima, used from 1552 to 1808, where we found 42 remains of bodies ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ among men and women between the ages of 30 and 50,” said Luis Martin Bogdanovich, head of the municipal program for the recovery of the historic center of Lima, told AFP.

The researchers dug just 30 centimeters deep to discover dozens of bones, some in perfect condition. Discovery of human skeletons in the former San Andrés hospital in Lima, May 25, 2022 in Peru Ernesto BENAVIDES AFP “People from different social classes were ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ here,” said Bogdanovich, who called the find “fundamental for the history of the city of Lima.”

In colonial times, there were no public cemeteries and people, including Spaniards and Creoles, came to the hospital to die when they were sick. After ceasing to function, San Andrés Hospital was converted in 1808 into a convent for nuns, a home for abandoned children, and then a public school until 2007, when an earthquake damaged it.

An underground crypt, in the form of a vaulted brick structure where high-ranking figures were ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ, was also discovered at the site. Discovery of human skeletons in the former San Andrés hospital in Lima, May 25, 2022 in Peru Ernesto BENAVIDES AFP “This is an exceptional find because (normally) burials are not so well preserved, even inside the church,” said archaeologist Hector Walde, head of the archeology team. of Lima.

“There are different causes of ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ , but the most striking is syphilis in one case,” Walde explained. The cemetery covers an area of ​​150 square meters. Among the objects discovered are tiles and ceramic fragments. According to specialists, the mummies of the Inca emperors Huayna Capac, Pachacutec and Tupac Yupanqui, as well as two of their wives, were ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ there.Archaeologists work in a crypt of the former San Andres Hospital where human skeletons were discovered on May 25, 2022 in Lima, Peru Ernesto BENAVIDES AFP

“The mummies were removed from Cuzco where they were revered. There is evidence that the mummies were ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ in the hospital,” Walde said. Lima was founded on January 18, 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Since its foundation, it has been the capital of Peru.