Sixteen 1,700-year-old skeletons discovered in Peru with feet MISSING

Archaeologists find grim haul of 1,700-year-old skeletons in Peru with half their feet MISSING because the bones were ‘used to make JEWELLERY’

  • Thirty-two skeletons from the Moche and Lambayeque cultures found in Peru 
  • Half of these (16) were found to be missing their feet by archaeologists  
  • Bones from the feet were re-purposed and used to make decorative lockets  
  • The gruesome practice was commonplace in the ancient civilisations 
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A discovery of 32 skeletons from the Moche and Lambayeque cultures in ancient Peru has revealed half of the remains were missing their feet. 

It is believed these people, of which many were children, had their feet removed after death to be re-purposed for use in jewellery. 

The gruesome practice was commonplace in the civilisations and the small bones of the feet were often made into lockets to be worn by surviving family members. 

Researchers at the site also unearthed 60 large urns covered with blankets which contained the remains of Alpacas, llamas and guinea pigs. 

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Many of the 32 skeletons were children and they had their feet removed after death to be re-purposed for use in jewellery


The gruesome practice was commonplace in the civilisations and the small bones of the feet were often made into lockets to be worn by surviving family members


A discovery of 32 skeletons from the Moche and Lambayeque cultures in ancient Peru has revealed half of the remains were missing their feet

The archaeologists discovered the graves in the district of Pomalca in the region of Lambayeque in Peru which contains remains from the pre-hispanic Moche and Lambayeque cultures. 

Many pre-Hispanic cultures often removed bones from the dead body to use them as lockets. 

Some of the graves also contained looms and instruments for making textiles made from bone.

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Of the 32 graves, 23 belong to the end of the Moche culture and nine to the Lambayeque culture.

Forty of the ceramic urns are believed to have been for domestic use, and were discovered alongside objects such as metal and spoons made of bones which were used in feasts for the dead.

WHAT WAS THE MOCHE CIVILISATION?

The Moche Civilisation lived on the Northern coast of what is now Peru between 50 AD and 700 AD.

The name comes from a site in a valley of the same name which was the central city for the Moche people.

The Moche are known for their elaborate pottery and jewellery as well as for pioneering early metal working skills.


Until the discovery of the Lord of Sipán’s tomb in 1979, the best known remains of the Moche civilisation were two large structures – the Temple of the Sun (pictured) and the Temple of the Moon – near Trujillo

What’s more, they built numerous large pyramids, some of which still dominate Peru’s landscape.

Evidence suggests that the Moche people engaged in a form of ritual combat, followed by human sacrifice.

Until the discovery of the Lord of Sipán’s tomb in 1979, the best known remains of the civilisation were two large structures – the Temple of the Sun (Huaca del Sol) and the Temple of the Moon (Huaca de la Luna) – near Trujillo.

The reasons for the collapse of the Moche culture are unknown, but experts have suggested prolonged drought, earthquakes, or extreme flooding from the El Niño phenomenon may have been to blame.

Some experts suggest a civil war may have been the cause of their downfall. 


 Of the 32 graves, 23 belong to the end of the Moche culture and nine to the Lambayeque culture


Researchers at the site also unearthed 60 large urns covered with blankets which contained the remains of Alpacas, llamas and guinea pigs

The Moche culture developed between the years 100 and 700 AD and the head of the project in El Chorro, Edgar Bracamonte, said that this cemetery was from the final years of the Moche culture until the end of the Lambayeque culture, who inhabited what is now the north coast of Peru between around 750 and 1375 AD. 

The name comes from a site in a valley of the same name which was the central city for the Moche people.

They are known for their elaborate pottery and jewellery as well as for pioneering early metal working skills.


Many pre-Hispanic cultures often removed bones from the dead body to use them as lockets. Some of the graves also contained looms and instruments for making textiles made from bone


The Moche culture developed between the years 100 and 700 AD and the head of the project in El Chorro, Edgar Bracamonte, said that this cemetery was from the final years of the Moche culture until the end of the Lambayeque culture


The Moche name comes from a site in a valley of the same name which was the central city for the Moche people. They are known for their elaborate pottery and jewellery as well as for pioneering early metal working skills

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