“King of Bling” tomb sheds light on ancient Peru

April 12th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

National Geographic Washington, April 12 (ANI): A 1,500-year-old tomb of the Moche Indian “king of bling”, found in Peru at the base of an eroded mud-brick pyramid, has yield a treasure trove of artifacts, which are shedding light on ancient times in the country. According to a report in National Geographic News, the finds include 19 golden headdresses, various pieces of jewelry, and two funerary masks, as well as skeletons of two other men and a pregnant woman.The tomb’s mysterious contents and location, far from known Moche capitals, could shed new light on this little-known culture of Peru’s arid northern coast, according to archaeologist Steve Bourget, of the University of Texas at Austin. Thriving between A.D. 100 and 800, the highly agricultural Moche Indians are known in large part by their stepped pyramids, jewelry-filled tombs, and exquisite pottery and art.Located some 475 miles (750 kilometers) north of Lima, the newfound tomb was found at the base of Huaca el Pueblo, a mud-brick, stepped pyramid that has eroded into a high, round mound. The Lord of Ucupe, as locals have come to call the entombed Moche leader, was in his early thirties when he died. For entombment, the lord was dressed in full regalia. His body was covered with a tunic and train of tiny gilded copper plates, and his face was covered with two funerary masks, which is a first, according to Bourget. A necklace of four-inch (ten-centimeter), disk-shaped silver rattles encircled his neck. On his head was a gilded crown. Six more crowns and ten V-shaped headdresses called diadems were arrayed on top of his body. Still another diadem was folded in half and placed atop six metal war clubs to serve as a mat for his lifeless body. “The Lord of Ucupe was then wrapped in a large bundle made of reed and textile, along with artifacts suggestive of political status,” said Bourget, who co-led the team that found the tomb with Bruno Alva of the Museum Tumbas Reales de Sipan. Atop it all was placed a final diadem, the first treasure found by the archaeologists as they brushed away the layers of dirt, probably from a cave-in, filling the originally hollow tomb. The lord was entombed atop another man. At the second man’s side was yet another man, who himself was atop a pregnant woman. “We don’t know the relationships between the leader and the other males,” Bourget said. “And this woman may have been a concubine or a wife. She may have died (of natural causes) while pregnant,” he added. There were no marks on the bones indicating that the people had been sacrificed. (ANI)

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