Sillustani Burial Ground

Sillustani is a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno in Perú. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility. Many of the tombs have been dynamited by grave robbers, while others were left unfinished.

The architecture of the site is often considered more complex than typical Incan architecture. In contrast with the Inca, who used stones of varying shapes, the Colla used even rectangular edges. While chullpas are not unique to Sillustani, this site is considered the best and most preserved example of them.

Corpses were not intentionally mummified, but in the dry environment created by the closed tomb, they survived for centuries. Most mummy bundles indicate burial in a fetal position. Some of the tombs also have various animal shapes carved into the stone. The only openings to the buildings face east, where it was believed the Sun was reborn by Mother Earth each day.

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