laguna de los cÓndores

The Laguna de los Cóndores is a geological formation located at the origin of the Chilchos Valley, at the edge of the watersheds of the Marañón and Huallaga rivers. In 1997 it attracted the interest of the public due to the fortuitous discovery of funerary structures. Centro Mallqui developed an emergency research program and reported the presence of more than a dozen burial sites.



The preservation of the mummies recovered from Laguna de los Cóndores has required the continuous work of diverse professionals. Specially controlled environments have been created with equipment to monitor and maintain optimal humidity and temperature levels for the storage of archaeological materials and the preservation of the delicate human remains.



Speleological surveys have been conducted in collaboration with the Spanish team EspeoloKandil in the natural cavities in Leymebamba, Laguna de los Cóndores, and Pedro Ruiz Gallo in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2011. Seventeen caves and rock shelters that included human and animal remains, pottery, and gourds were recorded.


The Chachapoya textile production was highly appreciated by the Inca. The garments were made with cotton and camelid fibers, and decorated with stripes, zoomorphic, and geometric designs. They used a variety of colors including blue, brown, cream, red, orange, etc.

In 2007, Lena Bjerregaard and Adriana von Hagen published the book "Chachapoya Textiles", which included studies of coats, cloaks, bags, belts, hats, nets, ribbons, laces, slings, and sandals. They registered up to six techniques used in the production of materials such as brocade. The Chachapoya textiles were objects of high artistic quality.

The radiographic study of the mummies from Laguna de los Cóndores started in 1999. Radiographs were taken of over 200 funerary bundles with a minimum of two plates per mummy. In 2000 larger series were developed. This study aimed to register materials and define the conservation condition and content of the funerary packages.


In 2009 Marcela Urízar and Daniel Castellanos conducted studies about paleopathology and the stature of the Chachapoya inhabitants. They reported head injuries associated with war practices. Also, they determined that the body proportions of Chachapoya populations were smaller than today. Apparently dietary changes and better living standards over time generated an increase in the height of the local populations.


The archaeological site of Llaqtacocha is located on the transit route to the mausoleums of Laguna de los Cóndores. It contains over 33 hectares and includes about 130 structures, mostly circular. In 2000, the project "Evaluation and Delineation of the Llaqtacocha archaeological site" allowed the site to be identified and defined as a residential settlement. Current studies are investigating the relationship of this population with the bundles from Laguna de los Cóndores.

In 2003 Centro Mallqui ran the project "Quintecocha: assessment and recording of burial and residential sites", in order to identify and record the density of sites around lakes Quintecocha, and La Mona. Several funerary buildings with Inca-Chachapoya, and Chachapoya burial platforms affiliation were identified. Nearby was a residential area with 51 circular structures called Quintellaqta.

On the site of La Mona, although there were no funerary structures, the remains of five buildings were identified. The findings of these sites and Llaqtacocha, indicates the presence of a dense occupation around the three lakes, possibly connected by a road of which remains of stone paths were found.

Since 1998 Centro Mallqui has provided support to local artisans. The Laguna de los Cóndores project has created a greater environment which fostered an increase in local jobs and strengthened the cultural identity of the area's people.


Textile production is a female activity. The religious sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart (Corazón de Jesús) in Leymebamba, promoted the development of the Association of Women Artisans of Leymebamba (AMAL). Centro Mallqui has contributed to the training and the use of Chachapoya iconography, using materials from Laguna de los Cóndores as inspirations.

Wood carving

The woodwork is identified with the work of Miguel Huaman. He makes replicas and recreations based on the anthropomorphic sculptures recovered in the mausoleums of Laguna de los Cóndores.

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