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By: Federico Kauffmann Doig *
Among the ancient Peruvians, the cult of the dead reached exceptional trim, judging by the rich ritual that these tributes to their dead. Demonstrated by the deployment implemented to preserve the bodies of their loved ones, mummification, or the special care put into the construction of dwellings for the eternal rest.
All this because the idea firmly ruled that, to corrupt the body, either by putrefaction or other destructive agent, ended the life experienced by the loved one beyond death.
As for the Chachapoyas, residents of the northern Andes and Amazon pre-Inca, these two basic patterns used funerary mausoleum (or chullpa pukullo in Quechua) and the sarcophagus or purun-machu.
The sarcophagi of the Chachapoyas are formed by a kind of large capsule walls built of clay mixed with small stones, some bits of wood and straw or ichu.
His appearance, head, bust and body evokes the contours of a human being. As vacuum inside the sarcophagus giving it room to shelter a late illustrious mummified sitting wrapped in tissue.
So, now a funeral package, the deceased was located in their respective burial coffin or capsule.
Chachapoyas sarcophagi have various forms, by its shape and size. Its distribution is limited to the left bank of the Utcubamba, it is a form of burial is not repeated elsewhere in the Andean region. It should be emphasized that the sarcophagus Chachapoyas mimics the look it takes the burden funeral Tiahuanaco-Huari stage (Middle Horizon). This is reflected in a particular way in relation to the head of the sarcophagus Chachapoyas conspicuous Karajía those with their jaws over-marking, which seems to trace the flat masks made of wood, planted over the mummies Tiahuanaco- Huari.
The heads of the Chachapoyas sarcophagi were modeled in clay. Therefore, seen a nose outgoing hook, apparently alluding to a beak of a bird of prey. Originally, all Karajía coffins over their heads wore a skull ritual majesty gave them.
Karajía sarcophagi were placed in a cave high on a cliff, which was excavated by man on purpose. Not necessarily resorted to this procedure to protect them from treasure hunters, as in ancient Peru had a deep respect for the dead.
Even his belongings were to be touched, because, according to the belief, still latent, the Defiler can suffer paralysis of one of its members could even cause death by Revenge of the deceased. This is popularly known as "antimony."
Protected against time.
The recourse to the top of the cliffs had to be induced by the desire to protect them from the ravages of time. Certainly, to show his bare rock to the surface, such as Canyon Karajía, that does not lead to grow vegetation on the site, which threatens to concentrate moisture conservation, especially of organic material.
Additionally, these heights the wind blowing briskly, and thereby to reduce the excessive humidity that prevails in the Andes Amazon.
Who were the builders of the tombs?
They were the Chachapoyas, whose ancestors, to start the second half of the first millennium AD, from mountain areas should, armed and in Andean culture, to settle in northern spaces corresponding to the Andes Amazon region.
We interpret that as a starting point, this phenomenon could be due to a state project emerged in the aftermath of the Tiahuanaco-Huari culture, due to population growth which by then was becoming more acute.
This population explosion pressure on various groups to expand the agricultural frontier on the coast and in the mountains has been extremely limited.