Long-lost language found in Peru

The escapades of the Spanish conquistadors are well documented in the histories of Central and South America, yet one of their number surely never thought his random jottings would end up being the only written documentation to survive of one of Peru’s native languages.
Archaeologists working the Magdalena de Cao Viejo site unearthed a letter two years ago on the back of which appears a list of Arabic numerals, their Spanish counterparts and a translation into a language that’s been lost to history. Jeffrey Quilter, director of the site as well as the deputy director of curatorial affairs of the Peabody Museum at Harvard, commented that,
“The find is significant because it offers the first glimpse of a previously unknown language and number system,” said Quilter. “It also points to the great diversity of Peru’s cultural heritage in the early colonial period. The interactions between natives and Spanish were far more complex than previously thought.”
The translation may be an example of Quingnam or Pescadora - both tongues that are mentioned in the historical record but not documented - yet certain numbers appear to be borrowed from Quechua, a language still spoken by Peruvian natives.
Full story at Harvard Gazette Online.