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Incan Mummy Bundles of Tupac Amaru, Peru

Incan Mummy Bundles of Tupac Amaru, Peru

Author: Debra Streacker

Students will be able to discuss the historical impact of the Inca people, their contributions to history as well as society today, the significance of their burial practices, and the reasons for the downfall of their empire. 

The well-preserved mummy bundles being unearthed in Tupac Amaru, Peru offer much information and insight into the Incan culture of the Andes. 

You will learn about the agricultural practices of the Inca, their roads system covering 14,000 miles,  as well as items of significance to the Inca people that they carefully included in their mummy bundles. What is the significance or importance of each of these items?

This unique system of burial is very different from that of their relatives, the Aztec and Maya.  Since we have already studied the previous two cultures, look for similarities between all three cultures, as well as marked differences unique only to the Inca.

Be able to explain the reason for their ultimate demise and short-lived reign in the region. 

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"Lost Kingdoms: Mummy Bundles of Tupac Amaru"

"National Geographic"'s Inca Mummies "Secrets of a Lost World". Go along with this archaeological team as they unearth the treasured secrets of the Incas in the tiny shanty-town of Tupac Amaru. Time is of the essence as the bulldozers are waiting to install running water in this town. Once this begins, all this ancient society's secrets could be destroyed forever.....

Source: National Geographic

"Virtual Mummy Bundle Unwrap"

Click on the image below to access the online "virtual mummy bundle unwrap".

Be there onsite, like a real "arqueólogo" and virtually unwrap one of the unearthed mummy bundles excavated from Tupac Amaru, Perú.  This is the bundle known as the "'Cotton King".

Peer inside and take detailed notes on what you discover:

  • who is in there?  how are they dressed?
  • what kind of jewelry or adornments are they wearing?
  • what is the significance of the items accompanying the person(s) in the bundle?
  • what items may be able to tell you when the person lived/died?
  • what were the people wrapped in?  how is this significant to the Inca culture?


Virtual Mummy Bundle Unwrap


Source: National Geographic - Virtual Mummy Bundle Unwrap

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While watching the video, listen for the answers to the following questions:


1)  For what length of time did the Incan empire flourish?


2)  What / who was responsible ultimately for their downfall?


3)  What year did the Spanish Conquistadores arrive in the Incan empire?


4)  What area did the Incan empire occupy in Sudamérica?


5)  Describe Incan agricultural practices since they lived high in the mountains.


6)  What is the name of the mountain chain in Sudamérica over which the Incas built their empire?


7)  What major contribution(s) are the Inca noted for?


8)  How were their burial practices different from those of the Aztec and Maya?  What similarities are there?


9)  The Aztec and Maya used glyphs for recording historical events and cultural information.  The Inca did not use a writing system.  Instead, they.....


10)  Discuss what the governmental structure was like for the Inca.  What societal groups existed?  What was life like for the hierarcy?  For the common citizen?

Source: Me!