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Helaine Silverman

Name given to a Pre-Columbian culture of the Central Andean area. The culture is named after the Paracas peninsula in Peru, 300 km south of Lima, the location of an important Pre-Columbian site discovered by Julio C. Tello and S. K. Lothrop in 1925 (see also South America, Pre-Columbian). By 1927 three distinct cemetery areas on the peninsula, known as Cabeza Larga, Cavernas and Necropolis, had been located and excavated. Each contained mummy bundles or ‘fardels’ wrapped in exceptionally fine multicoloured embroidered cloths (see fig.). The Necropolis area contained more than 400 conical bundles. Some were noticeably richer than others and were composed of up to several hundred textiles, arranged in layers of plain cloths and decorated mantles, shirts, loin cloths, ponchos, skirts, turbans and belts. Together, the three Paracas peninsula burial areas yielded thousands of iconographically complex, technically excellent textiles, now in museums throughout the world. The Paracas textiles varied in style over the time during which the burial grounds were used. The earliest (...