The Sarcophagi Guardians of the Cloud Warriors

Cloud Warriors
© zug55/ Flickr

In 1928, a powerful earthquake shook the cliffs around the Utcubamba valley in Peru, then a two meter clay statue collapsed. The researchers found that it was a sarcophagus, containing human remains still covered in tissue.

Later on, the archeologists found a few more of those sarcophagi, called Purunmachu. Most of the sarcophagi are destroyed by marauders, but still some of them remained intact, because they were unreachable at the high cliffs.

The Chachapoya people, also known as the Warriors of the clouds, lived in the Amazon rainforests. The archeological records show that the Chachapoya people have begun to colonize the region in 200 AD, but the Incas conquered their civilization just before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.

That led to the complete annihilation of the culture and traditions of the Chachapoya people and for less than a century after the arrival of the colonists there were only 10 percent of 300 000 people left. The sarcophagi guardians remained as monuments of their existence.

The Purunmachu sarcophagi are made from clay mixed with straw that covered the body of the deceased. The sarcophagi were pained white, then they were encrusted with ornaments such as necklaces and facial features, painted in yellow and red. For centuries, these huge clay figures stood at the high cliffs as guardians of the dead.