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Rare Mass Tombs Discovered Near Machu Picchu
José Orozco in Caracas, Venezuela
for National Geographic News
Eighty skeletons and stockpiles of textiles found in caves near the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu may shed light on the role that the so-called Lost City of the Inca played as a regional center of trade and power, scientists say.
Researchers found the artifacts and remains at two sites within the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park in southeastern Peru, said Fernando Astete, head of the park (see map of Peru).
The remains, most of which were found in May 2008 at a site called Salapunku, probably date to 500 to 550 years ago, said Francisco Huarcaya, the site's lead researcher.
Due to extensive looting, however, as much as 75 percent of the fabrics found wrapped around the remains are in "bad shape," Huarcaya said.
So far only the heads and shoulders of most of the bodies have been uncovered, Astete added.Read the rest on National Geographic.