Archaeologists find pre-Columbian mass grave in Peru

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Archaeologists have found an ancient mass grave containing the remains of pre-Columbian men, women and children in the citadel of Chan Chan in northern Peru, a member of the team said Thursday.

They found the remains of some 25 people, mainly women and children, as well as dozens of ceramic vessels and objects such as needles used in textile work, archaeologist Jorge Meneses told AFP.

The tomb was discovered about three weeks ago at Chan Chan, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the capital Lima.

The human remains are all but intact, said Meneses.

Chan Chan was a citadel of the Chimu culture, which flourished between the years 900 and 1450 on the north coast of Peru before falling to the Incas.

Chan Chan means "resplendent Sun" in the Chimu language.

The citadel was constructed in an area of some 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles), had ten walled palaces and some 30,000 citizens at its height.

It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, but also on its list of World Heritage in Danger.

Pre-Columbian remains and artefacts are frequently discovered in Peru.

Last month, workers laying gas pipes on a street in Lima stumbled on the remains of a gravesite that included 2,000-year-old ceramic burial vessels.

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