Every week hundreds of people file past a catafalque in Lima, Peru, starting in awe at a shrivelled corpse.
Every week hundreds of people file past a catafalque in Lima, Peru, starting in awe at a shrivelled corpse. They are paying homage to an illiterate and humble soldier who, more than four centuries ago, led a band of fellow Spanish adventurers to conquer the Inca empire of Peru. A marble plaque tells visitors the skinless skull and body still partially covered with flesh and cloth, are the remains of the conqueror, Francisco Pizarro.
However, a historian and scientist specialising in police and crime work, Dr. Felix Guillen, says the body is not Pizarro's.
SYNOPSIS: The body is on display in this cathedral in Lima, and in a square outside is a statue of Pizarro. He was murdered in Lima on the 26th of June, 1541. The body in the coffin was exhumed from under the high altar of the cathedral in 1891.
Dr. Guillen says his research had shown Pizzrro's body was buried in a courtyard of the cathedral shortly after his murder, but church archives show it did not lie there long. Officials say it was then transferred to a say to a crypt under the altar. Dr. Guillen has found other documents referring to the removal of Pizarro's remains in 1623. He says since there is no further satisfactory evidence, it has to be assumed that the body exhumed in 1891 is not Pizarro's.