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Ancient Mummy Found in a Cooler Bag

Ancient Mummy Found in a Cooler Bag
Ancient Mummy Found in a Cooler Bag. Credit: Karen Neoh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In an unlikely turn of events, police in Peru recently made a chilling discovery while patrolling a park – the 600-800-year-old remains of an ancient mummy.

The body was found inside a red cooler bag carried by 26-year-old Julio Cesar Bermejo, reportedly along with two other men who had been drinking on site.

According to Marco Antonio Ortega, a spokesperson for the National Police in the Puno region, the mummy was carried by Bermejo in a red refrigerated courier bag, and it was positioned in a fetal condition.

Bermejo spoke to the local media and referred to the mummy as “Juanita.” He described it as his “spiritual girlfriend” and stated that it had been in his family’s possession for nearly three decades after his father brought it home.

Mummy is Juan, not Juanita

The Ministry of Culture has reported that the pre-Hispanic artifact found in Bermejo’s bag was a mummified adult male, likely from the eastern area of Puno, a region in the Peruvian Andes over 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) southeast of Lima.

A specialist from the ministry confirmed that it was not “Juanita” but “Juan,” a man of at least 45 years old who was wrapped in bandages in the fetal position.

Police discovered the remains in Bermejo’s bag on February 25th while patrolling a park in Puno, where he was hanging out with friends.

Despite accusations of trying to sell the mummy, Bermejo denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he was only carrying it around because his friends wanted to see it.

The culture ministry has since taken possession of the mummified remains to protect and preserve the heritage.

Peru’s first National Culture Policy

Minister Neyra outlined that the National Culture Policy has set forth several key objectives, including strengthening the appreciation of cultural diversity, increasing participation in artistic and cultural expressions, and sustainably developing the arts and cultural industries of Peru.

These objectives aim to promote cultural expression, education, and preservation throughout the country.

Aim to Strengthen cultural heritage

The Minister also emphasized that the valuation of cultural heritage will be strengthened, along with its protection and safeguarding for social use.

It includes ensuring the sustainability of cultural governance and the full exercise of cultural rights, such as the right to cultural identity, education, cultural training, information and communication, cultural heritage, cultural expressions, cultural creation, and cooperation, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

To achieve these objectives, the Minister highlighted that the institutional strengthening of the ministry must be carried out.

It will involve transforming the organization into a modern, efficient, transparent, and responsible entity in public spending.

The ministry must also take on a leadership role in cultural policies, effectively collaborate with other sectors and levels of government, and provide services efficiently to the citizens of Peru. These transformations are set to take place at the Bicentennial.

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