Remains of 19th century Chinese workers discovered at ancient pyramid in Peru

Archaeologists recently unearthed a glimpse of a less prominent chapter in the Andean country’s history while exploring Peru’s pre-Colombian past. They found remains of sixteen 100 years old Chinese laborers who toiled in the country.

The bodies were found buried at the top of an adobe pyramid first used by the ancient Ichma people, thought to be those of indentured workers brought to Peru to replace slave labor, the lead archaeologist of the site Roxana Gomez told on Thursday.

In the 19th century Peru for Chinese labor was one of the biggest destinations in Latin America, slavery was abolished in the country in 1854 before that this was market that thrived.

The remains of Chinese found at the Bellavista pyramid in Lima were thought of getting buried in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were likely picking cotton at a nearby plantation in “very difficult” conditions, said Gomez.

The first 11 bodies were shrouded in cloth and placed in the ground which shows a possible sign of how the Chinese gradually emerged from dire poverty in Peru, while the last five wore blue-green jackets and were buried in wooden coffins, Gomez said.

Gomez said “In one Chinese coffin, an opium pipe and a small ceramic vessel were included in the funerary ensemble”.

Chinese laborers were generally not allowed to be buried at Lima’s Catholic cemeteries, forcing them to improvise burial sites, according to Peru’s Culture Ministry.

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