Archives Photo of the Week: Mummy Bundles

October 11, 2013

Two mummies from Uhle excavations, with a workman.
Penn Museum Image #18588

This week’s photo of the week comes from Pachacamac in Peru. The Penn Museum excavations at Pachacamac were led by Max Uhle, a German philologist and archaeologist who was continuing the work that he had undertaken for the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. Uhle’s explorations of South America lasted from 1895 to 1897. Featured in the image are two Incan mummy bundles excavated from the site. The Incas mummified their dead in multiple layers of textiles and leaves, creating a large bundle. They then placed a false head atop the bundle, usually made of carved wood or pottery.

Additional reading about the mummies can be found here:

The Mummies of Patchacamac by Stuart Fleming

Peru’s Mummy Bundles by Jarrett A. Lobel