| Cotton King Mummy Bundle: Male Noble Mummy |
|Name(s)||unknown, member of the "Cotton King" bundle|
|Culture||Inca upper class|
|Date(s)||buried between 1480-1535|
|Site||Rimac Valley outside Lima, Peru|
The male Cotton King mummy was estimated to have died between the years 1480 and 1535, and was a member of the Inca civilisation in Peru. He was found outside of a shantytown outside of Lima, Peru, more specifically in the Puruchuco site in the Rimac Valley. Included in his mummy bundle was a small child, who was most likely related to him.
Several items were buried with this mummy that suggests that he would have been a nobleman in life. These include an exotic feathered headband, a mace (depicting warrior status), and sandals that would have been worn by members of the upper class. Additionally, offerings of Spondylas or Ecuadorian oyster shells were found in his grave, which would have been a nobleman's privilege.
The Cotton King mummy bundle was given its name due to the fact that it is wrapped with 136 kilograms of raw cotton. In addition to the nobleman and the baby, the bundle consisted of approximately 170 items to aid them in the afterlife, including food, animal skins, pottery, and corn to make the fermented drink of chicha. Enclosed in the nobleman's hands are fabric, shell, and a ball of lime. Topping the mummy bundle is a falsa, or false head, which is made from bundled cotton.
The dry conditions of the burial likely helped in the mummy's preservation, as did the tomb's seal made of sand, rubble, and ceramic. The mummy itself is not embalmed. Rather, the dry soil and textiles helped to dry the body out. This method of mummification has been described as 'natural yet intentional.'
This mummy does, however, have some differences from its surrounding burials, which are mummified in the typical Inca way. One such difference is that the mummy is in a cotton bundle, as opposed to the finished cloth that members of the Incan nobility are typically wrapped in. Additionally, the mummy was wrapped in a kneeling position with pointed toes, which is different from the fetal position that Incan mummies are usually set in.
The Puruchoco Inca mummies, including the Cotton King, are being studied under the leadership of Peruvian archaeologist Guillermo Cock and his team.
No disease has been observed as of yet in this mummy's body.
The Puruchoco site is home to approximately 10 000 mummies, 2200-2400 of which have been recovered. Some of these are damaged, given the shantytown's sewage disposal in the valley. The cemetery in which this mummy was found housed mummy bundles that included up to seven mummies in them. Additionally, the mummies in the cemetery were proportionally representative of all of the Inca's social classes and groups.
Cock, G.A. (2002). Inca Rescue. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/features/world/south-america/peru/rescue-text/2
Cosgrove-Mather, B. (2002). Thousands of Inca Mummies Found. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/thousands-of-inca-mummies-found/
Highfield, R. (2002). Slum town mummies reveal secrets of Incas. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/peru/1391389/Slum-town-mummies-reveal-secrets-of-Incas.html