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19th-century Chinese immigrant remains found at Huaca Mateo Salado in Peru

LIMA PERU, ABRIL 8. Entierro de Inmigrante Chino en la huaca Mateo Salado.Foto: ANDINA/Norman Córdova

12:52 | Lima, Apr. 09.

Human remains belonging to an Asian individual from the first generations of migrants coming into Peru have been found at Huaca Mateo Salado in the city of Lima.

Huaca Mateo Salado is one of the most important archaeological sites in downtown Lima. Since value enhancement actions started to run in the place, archaeological findings have not ceased to amaze.

A couple of years ago, more than fifty pre-Hispanic graves were found while providing value to one of the five pyramids located in the said site.

The material found –typical of a place built by the Ychma Culture which was still used by the Incas– included a casket from more recent times 

According to Pedro Espinoza, Mateo Salado Archaeological Project Director, the suspicion that the graves belonged to Asian immigrants from the 19th century was confirmed after studying the skeleton material.

Inside the coffin they reportedly found the individual’s human remains, his clothes and belongings. His outfit was simple and modest, and the paraphernalia required to smoke opium was next to the body.

“This finding gives us a glimpse into the behavior of the first Chinese generations coming to Peru,” Espinoza told El Peruano daily.

In addition, archaeologists found two Peruvian Sol coins dating from that period of time in his pockets.

According to the archaeologist, this fact becomes clearer when referring to Asian traditions. So the pipe, lighter, scissors and the other opium smoking tools could be there for the same reason.

He noted that Asian immigrants’ burials in archaeological sites were common at that time, given the fact that first generations’ members of this colony did not practice Catholicism, so they were not allowed access to cemeteries.  

(END) ECG/RMB/MVB

Published: 4/9/2015
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