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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
101. (Objects) The Preservation of Mummy Bundles in Peru: A methodological proposal

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The Arturo Jimenez Borja - Puruchuco Site Museum holds an important collection of mummy bundles, dating from different archaeological campaigns conducted since the 1960s. The mummy bundles came from various archaeological sites East of Lima, such as Puruchuco - Huaquerones, Rinconada de la Molina, Cajamarquilla, Pedreros, and Huanchihuaylas.

We made a diagnostic study of the risks to which the collection was exposed; resulting in the identification of risk levels for each agent of decay. Based on these results and some particular characteristics of the collection, a methodology was devised for gradual implementation, according to available resources. Fortunately, in 2014, the museum was awarded the US Ambassador's Prize, which was applied to preserve, among other assets, the museums's valuable mummy bundle collection. This grant helped to speed up the process over 2015.

The applied approach considers that each bundle resulted from a process in which layers of textiles, ropes, cotton balls, and other items were organized around one or more deceased individuals. We suggest there were different stages during the process of wrapping. Additional elements, such as 'false heads', clothing, wigs, and other accessories were also been added over the the original mummy building process. Direct observation helped to characterize outer and inner wrapping items, the latter only visible in bundles with broken outer layers that allowed to see them. Direct observation then, also helped to reconstruct the original technique of placing wrapping and packaging items; therefore identifying different types of elements used by ancient Peruvians, probably dependent on chronological, chorological or other aspects or social origin.

Conservation of mummy bundles comprises Preventive Conservation, which requires building a documentation corpus, along with the design and development of storage items, including shelves, and climatic monitors. Micro climatic monitoring is carried out before, during, and after curative conservation. On the other hand, Curative Conservation, refers to the intervention actions that are performed directly on the cultural items with the aim of stabilizing them. However, the conservation approach proposed is not only the physical preservation of cultural property, but also the preservation of inspiring knowledge useful to society. This wider goal is achieved through dynamic activities and workshops, generating life experiences that link our past to the present. Therefore, the proposed conservation of mummy bundles at the Museum of Puruchuco encompasses a continuous technical, investigative, and educational process; considering an integrated conservation of cultural goods aimed at the community.

avatar for Selene Figueroa

Selene Figueroa

Conservadora de la Colección de Fardos Funerarios, Museo de Sitio Arturo Jiménez Borja-Puruchuco
Selene Figueroa holds a degree in Andean archeology from the San Marcos University, Lima-Peru, and she is a specialist in conservation of archaeological cultural property by the “Yachay Wasi” Conservation and Restoration Institute. She has carried out several studies on the conservation... Read More →
avatar for Rubén Héctor Buitron Picharde

Rubén Héctor Buitron Picharde

Archaeologist and Conservator, Museo de Sitio Arturo Jimenez Borja - Puruchuco
He began his studies in Andean archeology at San Marcos University, Lima-Peru, where he obtained his degree. He carried out specialized studies of conservation of archaeological cultural heritage in "Yachay Wasi" Conservation and Restoration Institute and several universities and... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower