The Chachapoya, distinguished by fair skin and great height, lived primarily on ridges and mountaintops in circular stone houses.
Sean Savoy, leader of the Gran Saposoa-El Dorado IV Expedition (July-August 2004), points out a stone cross in bas relief at the main plaza of the “Las Cruces” citadel at Gran Saposoa in the Andes mountains of northern Peru.
It is thought to cover more than 25 square miles (65 square kilometers).
The latest expedition estimates at least 200 structures at the Las Cruces citadel, one among a half dozen main citadels at Gran Saposoa.
So far archeologists have found five mummies, two of which are intact with skin and hair, as well as ceramics, textiles and wall paintings, the expedition’s leader and regional cultural director Herman Corbera told Reuters. We have found these five mummies but I believe there could be many more,” Corbera said.
“We think this is the first time any kind of underground burial site this size has been found belonging to Chachapoyas or other cultures in the region,” he added.
They are best-known today by tourists for their stone citadel Kuelap, near the modern town of Chachapoyas.
In 1996, archeologists found six ancient burial houses containing several mummies, thought to belong to the Chachapoyas.