Brazen grave robbers have ransacked a pre-Hispanic cemetery in Peru that is up to 5,000 years old and left sacred human remains ‘dumped in a pile’

  • Incident happened in a pre-Hispanic cemetery known as Jerusalen K’uchu  
  • This is a cave in the Combapata district of the Peruvian province of Canchis 
  • Local media report the thieves destroyed the graves to steal the ornaments
  • Photos show that the human bones and skulls were dumped in a pile 
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Brazen grave robbers have damaged an ancient burial site by desecrating the human remains and leaving them dumped in a pile in order to steal ornaments and artefacts.

The shocking incident happened in a pre-Hispanic cemetery which could be up to 5,000 years old. 

The site is known as Jerusalem K’uchu which is in a small rocky cave in the Combapata district of the Peruvian province of Canchis.

Local media report the thieves almost completely destroyed the graves in order to steal the ornaments the bodies were buried with.

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Brazen grave robbers have damaged an ancient burial site by desecrating the human remains and leaving them dumped in a pile in order to steal ornaments and artefacts

The burial site is reportedly from ‘Andean culture’, a term used to describe the indigenous peoples of the Andes mountains, often those controlled by the Inca Empire.

The oldest known Andean civilisation is The Norte Chico civilisation of Peru dating back to 3200 BC and the Inca civilisation, which arose in the early 13th century.

From 1438 to 1533, the Incas controlled a large part of western South America, centred around the Andes mountain range before falling to Spanish conquistadors. 

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Photos show that the human bones and skulls were dumped in a pile so the thieves could reach the artefacts.

Archaeologists have reportedly confirmed the skeletons were completely disjointed in the raid and the stone and mud structures used to protect the remains were also destroyed.

Authorities are working to identify all the objects stolen and damaged by the thieves. 

 Fifteen human skulls found in the interior of the cave will need to be conserved.


The shocking incident happened in a pre-Hispanic cemetery which could be up to 5,000 years old. Those responsible have not yet been identified


Local media report the thieves almost completely destroyed the graves in order to steal the ornaments the bodies were buried with

From their ancient capital Cusco, the Incas controlled a vast empire called Tahuantinsuyo, which extended from the west of present-day Argentina to the south of Colombia. 

The empire included the mountain-top citadel of Machu Picchu in modern-day Peru — now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction.  

The cultural organisation responsible for the site have reported the case to the National Police who have launched an investigation. 

Those responsible have not yet been identified.


The burial site is reportedly from ‘Andean culture’, a term used to describe the indigenous peoples of the Andes mountains, often those controlled by the Inca Empire


The oldest known Andean civilisation is The Norte Chico civilisation of Peru dating back to 3200 BC and the Inca civilisation, which arose in the early 13th century. Photos show that the human bones and skulls were dumped in a pile so the thieves could reach the artefacts


Archaeologists have reportedly confirmed the skeletons were completely disjointed in the raid and the stone and mud structures used to protect the remains were also destroyed


The site is known as Jerusalem K’uchu which is in a small rocky cave in the Combapata district of the Peruvian province of Canchis

Earlier this year researchers in Peru claimed to have found the origins of the Incas using DNA analysis of their modern-day descendants.

After becoming fascinated by the Inca culture, their organizational skills and their mastery of engineering, researchers Ricardo Fujita and Jose Sandoval of Lima’s University of San Martin de Porresit became interested in the genetic profile of their descendants.

They said the aim of the study, the first of its kind, was to reveal whether there was a unique Inca patriarch.

‘It’s like a paternity test, not between father and son but among peoples,’ Dr Fujita told AFP.


The cultural organisation responsible for the site have reported the case to the National Police who have launched an investigation. Those responsible have not yet been identified

The scientists wanted to verify two common legends about the origin of the Incas. 

‘After three years of tracking the genetic fingerprints of the descendants, we confirm that the two legends explaining the origin of the Inca civilization could be related,’ said Dr Fujita.

‘They were compared with our genealogical base of more than 3,000 people to reconstruct the genealogical tree of all individuals.

‘We finally reduced this base to almost 200 people sharing genetic similarities close to the Inca nobility.’

‘The conclusion we came to is that the Tahuantinsuyo nobility is descended from two lines, one in the region of Lake Titicaca, the other around the mountain of Pacaritambo in Cusco. That confirms the legends,’ said Dr Sandoval.

What did the Spanish Empire control in what is now the USA?

At its height in the 18th century, the Spanish Empire in North America included most of what is now the United States. 

It covered Florida, all of the US’s Gulf of Mexico coastline and every state west of the Mississippi.

The Spaniards became the dominant European power in the Americas after conquering the Aztec Empire in 1521. Later – in 1572 – Spain also conquered the Inca Empire, giving it control of a vast expanse of territory in South and North America.

But the Spanish did not remain south of the Rio Grande – they also ventured deep into what is now the United States, creating settlements on the empire’s northern border. 

In the latter half of the 16th century, when the English and French had not yet settled the continent, Spain sent Christian missionaries to Florida and the southern US. 


By the end of the 18th century, the Spanish Empire included most of North America – and most of what would become the USA 

They founded St Augustine in Florida in 1565, the first European city to be built in the US, alongside other bases in New Mexico, Georgia, South Carolina Arizona, Texas and California.  

Among the most important missions to be established was in San Antonio, Texas, which later came to be known as the Alamo (where, more than a century later, Mexican forces would besiege Texans during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836).  

Alongside claims on the Pacific Northwest – including what is now Canadian territory – the Spaniards also briefly held the Louisiana Territory, including the city of New Orleans and land west of the Mississippi River.

This territory, which was given by the French to the Spanish in 1762, included Kansas, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota and most of Minnesota and Colorado.   

But Spain’s empire in the US collapsed in the 19th century. 

In 1803, the French reclaimed Louisiana – just three weeks before Napoleon sold it to President Thomas Jefferson to fund a war with Great Britain. 

In 1819, a weakened Spain also agreed to cede Florida to the US in exchange for the Americans dropping claims on Texas. 

This soon became a redundant point as the Spanish were beaten in the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, with Mexico taking control of Spain’s former territories in North America. 

A struggle for control of what is now US territory then persisted between the Americans and Mexicans until the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. 

The Americans then acquired California, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Nevada and the parts of Colorado they did not yet possess. 

 

 

 

 

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