The CHIRIBAYA MUSEUM is located in the city of ILO, in Moquegua, at the extreme southern part of Peru. Within its walls, hundreds of mummies (mallquis) discovered, buried in its arid land, had finally found their resting place, far away from looters and unscrupulous individuals looking only to satisfy their greediness for gold and riches.
The land of Moquegua has an archeologist’s dream weather. It is arid, and not at all humid. The perfect conditions for the preservation of the mummies found in its valleys. They are the precious proof of the existence of a civilization that goes as far back as the year 900 BC to 1350 CE; the CHIRIBAYA CULTURE. Located near the OSMORE River in the ILO valley, the Chiribaya Culture flourished even before the Inca Culture, in an extended land that went as far into the Chilean territory and inland up to 30 kilometers, reaching the highlands of the mountains. The CHIRIBAYA is a culture unknown as of yet, even for the local Peruvians. However, it is being studied with so much attention, due to discoveries of mummies, which show a great similitude to the process of mummification and the rituals found at the buried sites, which is very similar to that of the Egyptians. It is remarkable since these cultures flourished in a different part of the world, more than 5,000 years before. Recent studies of the mummies found have shown the existence of a previous culture than that of the CHIRIBAYA, the Chinchorros, whose presence has been traced to be 7,000 years old, thousands of years older than the Egyptian Culture.
Map of sites and CHIRIBAYA MUSEUM
It also raises curiosity about the importance that this CHIRIMOYA culture gave to the embalming of the dogs found in these sites. They were buried with offerings, in appreciation of their labor as llama herders. The food and pottery found together with the mummified persons, as well as at the animals’ burial sites, similar to ancient cultures, are at the same time profoundly intriguing and amazing.
The research center, CENTRO MALLQUI near the seaport of ILO, has the required storage area and climate conditions to house all of these recollected objects belonging to the CHIRIBAYA CULTURE Since its foundation in 1993, several projects have been put into action to study and preserve the remains of this ancient culture that enriches once more the vast archeological culture of ancient Peru. Some of these projects include the registration by radiography of the bundles found and the discovery of a new breed of dogs, known as The Peruvian Dog (a unique hairless breed of dog similar to its cat counterpart the Sphynx.)
If you are interested we can tailor made a program to Ilo and Moquegua to include a visit to the Museum
Photos from CHIRIBAYA MUSEUM