Lima: 19th-Century Chinese Cemetery Found in Pre-Columbian Ruins

(Photo: Ministerio de Cultura)

Investigators uncovered a 19th-century cemetery where Chinese immigrants were buried on top of a pre-Columbian monument.

The Ministry of Culture informs us of an amazing find in the district of Santa Anita, department of Lima.

Sixteen cadavers of Chinese immigrants, including 5 encased in trapezoidal coffins of black wood, were found on top of a pre-Colombian site called Huaca Bellavista. The 11 remaining cadavers were buried directly in the ground.

The discovery was made while researchers excavated the top layer of the monument. They were surprised to find the cadavers dressed in typical clothing for Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.

El Comercio reports that experts concluded that the site was used as a cemetery for Asian immigrants who came to Peru to work in agriculture at the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.  The nearby hacienda was dedicated to the production of cotton.

Chinese immigrants have left a lasting imprint on Peru’s past and present.  You can visit Lima’s Chinatown today near the historic center; it’s a real cultural and culinary treat!




Mike grew up and eventually attended university in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated in Integrative Leadership Studies with an emphasis in Urban and Regional Planning and has been a part of planning projects in three different countries. Mike’s passion is reading; he devours both literature and nonfiction. His favorite author is Peru’s own Julio Ramón Ribeyro.