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The Laguna de los Condores (aptly known also as the Laguna de las Momias) is an archaeological site where a great number of mummies were found. This site is located in Leymebamba, in the northern Peruvian region of Amazonas. The site is a lagoon, as its name indicates, and the cliffs surrounding it were used as a necropolis by the Chachapoya (who are known also as the ‘Warriors of the Clouds’), a Pre-Columbian culture that inhabited the cloud forests of the Amazonas Region. It may be indicated that some have claimed that these mummies belong to the succeeding Inca civilisation. The site was discovered in 1997, and the mummies found there were removed to the nearby Leymebamba Museum, where they are now conserved. It is believed that many more of these Chacapoya mummies are to be found interred in such necropoli spread across the surrounding jungle-covered mountains.
It was in 1997 that the Laguna de los Condores caught the attention of archaeologists. In the previous year, workers for a Leymebamba-based cattle rancher named Julio Ullilén stumbled upon the necropolis. As they found it to be full of mummies, they began to hack the bodies up, in the hopes that they would find precious metal artifacts that they could sell. The local police had to intervene when a fight broke out amongst the looters over the spoils, and many of the artifacts, which had been taken by Ullilén, were later confiscated by the police. In April of the following year, an archaeologist by the name of Peter Lerche was sent to the site as an official representative of Peru’s National Institute of Culture to conduct a preliminary survey of the damage that had been done to the mummies. Lerche’s initial estimation was that there were about 60 or 70 mummies interred in...
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