A 2,000-year-old mummy of a young girl will be returned to Peru from the United States where it is believed to have been taken by grave robbers.
The mummy of the young girl, believed to be between six and eight years old when she died, was being kept at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History in the state of Texas, in the United States, but will now be returned to its native Peru.
The mummified girl was reportedly brought to the museum in 1957 as a gift from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, but the AMNH has no record of it.
The piece is said to have been brought by former AMNH employee Allbert Heine when he was made the Texan museum’s first director.
The current Collections Manager at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Jilian Becquet, told local media the mummy probably came from “somebody looking to steal things from Peru” but its exact origin is unclear.
The mummy is around 50 centimetres (20 inches) long and is wrapped in rope bundles which cover it completely beside its face. The child was reportedly positioned with her arms across her chest and her knees tucked in.
Becquet said that the mummy had not been displayed since the 1980s as it no longer fits their “mission as a museum” and was instead being kept in storage.
It is believed the mummy is of Aymara origin, an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America. Their ancestors lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Incas in the late 15th or early 16th century, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century.
The museum chose to return the mummy after negotiations started by the Peruvian Embassy in the United States.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs expects the piece to be transferred to Peru on 7th of February.
According to local media, over 7,000 pieces of Peruvian archaeological heritage have been returned to the country in the last eight years.