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Undisturbed ancient royal tomb discovered in Peru

June 27, 2013 at 11:38 PM   |   Comments

LIMA, June 27 (UPI) -- An ancient, artifact-filled royal tomb of the Wari people has been discovered in a pyramid in Peru, archaeologists say.

The pre-Incan mausoleum, located at the El Castillo de Huarmey site 175 miles north of Lima, is the first to be found that hasn't been looted, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Among the more than 1,200 artifacts are gold- and silver-inlaid jewelry, ceremonial axes, looms and spindles, the newspaper said.

Milosz Giersz, an archaeologist with the University of Warsaw in Poland who headed the expedition, told the Times it holds an altar-like throne and the bodies of 63 people, mostly women. Giersz said the bodies were positioned sitting and wrapped in cloth. The archaeologists surmise some were likely human sacrifices, and three were thought to be Wari queens.

"We know little about this culture, and this discovery is the first one which brings us so much information about the funerary practices of the highest-ranking elite and the role of the woman in pre-Hispanic times," Giersz said

The Andean civilization flourished in the coastal regions from roughly AD 500 to AD 1000 AD. No written record of their lives has been found, the Times said.

The expedition that led to the tomb discovery is funded by Poland's National Science Center and supported by the National Geographic Society. Giersz said the researchers hope to find other undisturbed tombs.

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