Lost Language Unearthed in a Letter Found in Peru

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By: Emily Schmall
LIMA (REUTERS).- Archaelogists say scrawl on the back of a letter recovered from a 17th century dig site reveals a previously unknown language spoken by indigenous peoples in northern Peru. A team of international archaeologists found the letter under a pile of adobe bricks in a collapsed church complex near Trujillo, 347 miles north of Lima. The complex had been inhabited by Dominican friars for two centuries. “Our investigations determined that this piece of paper records a number system in a language that has been lost for hundreds of years,” Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, told Reuters. A photograph of the letter recently released by archaeologists shows a column of numbers written in Spanish and translated into a language that scholars say is now extinct. “We discovered a language no one has seen or heard since the 16th or 17th century,” Quilter said, adding that the language appears to have been