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Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru

Archaeologists in Peru have accidentally stumbled upon a centuries-old crypt with dozens of skeletons inside in the city of Cusco, whilst performing restoration work at one of the country's earliest Christian sites, the Saint Francis of Assisi Temple, according to local media.

Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru
The crypt contains a scatter of human bones that could total up to 
32 complete skeletons [Credit: El Comercio]
Peruvian daily El Comercio reported that 32 skeletons were discovered inside the crypt which was used as a burial site for early Christians in the area. The temple and its crypt is thought to be more than 500 years old.

Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru
The crypt discovered under church chapel 
[Credit: El Comercio]
"We made a discovery in front of the Temple of Saint Francis of Assisi that dates back to 1556," said archaeologist, Carlos Galimberti.


The state of the human remains inside the crypt are reported to be in bad condition following centuries' worth of disturbances at the site.

Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru
The mural with scenes of the Virgin Mary 
[Credit: El Comercio]
"On the surface of the crypt, we have found a total of 32 distinct remains that were found in a bad state as a result of the regular desecrations to the remains over the years," said archaeologist, Elizabeth Aragon.

Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru
Original mural found on walls of presbytery 
[Credit: El Comercio]
Alongside the discovery of the crypt, investigators also found a mural of the Christian nativity scene. It is believed the mural was part of the original decoration at the temple.

Hidden early Christian crypt with dozens of skeletons discovered in Peru
The discoveries were made during restorations works at the Templo Mayor 
San Francisco de Asís, located in the district of Maras, in the province 
of Urubamba, Cusco [Credit: El Comercio]
Cusco was once the centre for Spanish colonisation in South America and the spread of Christianity in the Andean world due to its rich mines and agriculture.

Author: Adam Justice | Source: IB Times [April 30, 2015]
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