Tenahaha Mummies
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Tenahaha Mummies
Age Varies (ranges from fetuses to older adults)
Sex Varies
Height Varies
Culture pre-Inca Wari
Date(s) AD 800 to 1000
Site Cotahuasi Valley
Current Location
Location Peru
Catalog #

During excavations carried out between 2004 and 2007, tombs containing up to 40 mummies each were discovered around a 1,200-year-old ceremonial site in Peru's Cotahuasi Valley. Anthropologists speculate that there are at least 171 in total.


After death and before rigor mortis started, the person(s) would have their knees flexed and their arms crossed and wrapped around their chests. They would then be bound by ropes and would have material wrapped around them before being buried.

The youngest mummies, infants, would be buried in jars.


Radiocarbon dates and pottery analysis indicate the site was in use between about A.D. 800 and A.D. 1000.


These mummies were not in good condition. Many of the mummies are in pieces because of water and rodents. In some areas, some of the mummies were intentionally taken apart but is still not understood why.

There were also some pottery and other burial objects found with them. At Tenahaha there is little evidence for violence, and pottery at the site is decorated with what looks like depictions of people smiling, which were very different from other Wari culture pottery which have been found containing drawings of fanged teeth and human trophy skulls.

External Links


Holloway, April. (2015, April 8). Hundreds of Ancient Mummies Discovered at Ceremonial Site in Peru. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from

Jarus, Owen. (2015, April 8). Tombs Filled with Dozens of Mummies Discovered in Peru. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from

Zolfagharifard, Ellie. (2015, April 10). Horrific death rituals of ancient Peru revealed: 1,200-year-old tombs found filled with hundreds of dismembered mummies. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from

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