Leymabamba is a tiny town of a couple thousand, most famous for it’s museum of fairly grotesque mummies. Or at least grotesque to me. In Cajamarca the family I was staying with told me to go there and showed me pictures of the mummies.
MUMMIES LOOK BETTER STILL IN THE SACK
What the Chachapoyans (the mummy guys) did was suck out everything that wasn’t skin and bones, crumple it up and put it in a really pretty sack. Then they would draw what was essentially a cute happy face on it. Then they built a small building behind a waterfall and shoved in about 250 of these guys. It’s actually in plain view and you can see it if you know what to look for but no one really did. Not for at least a thousand years. Locals had a good idea of where it was but wouldn’t tell anyone for fear of grave robbers. It was eventually discovered when a European (I want to say Dutch) archeologist’s wife insulted a local saying that he would never find it and the local guy brought them straight to it. It’s tough to get to – essentially a cliff overhanging a black lagoon.
It’s an 8-12 hour horsey ride in and then an additional 2 and a half hours from the hut we stayed in.
HARD TO GET TO
I am led to believe it always rains there as when we set out it was raining and our guide looked up and said “good day for hiking! It’s hardly raining!”
I’m not usually into the concept of guides but this one was amazing and was highly involved in the project from discovery to removal of the artifacts. It was an amazing experience though it was cold and I got to take a little cold home with me as a souvenier.