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About 60 km northeast of the city of Chachapoyas, in Luya Province, in Peru, lies the archaeological site of Karajia, where the funeral tombs of the “ancient wise men” are located. Perched high on a ledge by the side of a limestone cliff, the six sarcophagi (coffins carved in stone and displayed above ground) resembling six limbless torsos with large heads and enormous jaw lines, stand proud with their chin up and facing the abyss. Some of the headpieces are embellished with horns, imitating deer antlers, while others have encrusted human skulls, which are presumed to be trophy heads. Each sarcophagus is 2.5 meters tall.

The sarcophagi were built by the Chachapoya people to house the remains of important individuals in their culture, about 600 years ago. Originally, there were eight sarcophagi but two were destroyed by earthquakes and other natural elements.  Their inaccessible location high above a river gorge has thankfully preserved them from destruction by looters.

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