Work on Olmos Project Turns Up Ancient Sican Cemetery

Workers involved in the Olmos irrigation project in northern Peru have discovered 35 tombs that are believed to be 800 to 1,000 years old, according to daily El Comercio.

The tombs were found near Chiclayo in the Lambayeque region just after Christmas, when workers led by an archaeological service company were finishing work on an earlier discovery made along the route of the irrigation pipeline. The tombs belong to the Sican culture, which lived on Peru’s north coast from AD 750-1375. A video of the dig is available here, on El Comercio’s website.

The individuals buried in the tombs were accompanied by offerings that included ceramics and textiles, as well as metal pieces with gold-plated copper.

In August last year, workers on the same stretch of the huge Olmos project uncovered 12 boot-shaped tombs, near the archaeological site of La Huaca.

Workers are planning to remove the new-found tombs in order to continue the Olmos project, a multi-million dollar irrigation project that will pump water from the Eastern Amazon through the Andes and to Peru’s northern desert coast. The project is being developed by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Before the construction of infrastructure or the development of natural resource projects, companies are required to carry out archaeological research as part of their environmental impact studies, in order to save any findings that would be damaged by a project.

The archaeological finds from Olmos will be transferred to the Brüning Museum in Lambayeque. The director of the museum, Carlos Wester La Torre, called on Odebrecht to carry out further archaeological work in Olmos, where little archaeological information is available despite known sites from the Sican and Chimu cultures.

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