Peru archaeologists unearth ancient Wari royal tomb

1st Jul 2013

Cultural sites in Peru aren't in short supply with the likes of the 15th-century Incan ruins of Machu Picchu and the even more ancient Huaca Pucllana temple in Miraflores.

Now archaeologists have made an eerie discovery that could rival both of them as a tourist destination.

They have found the first undisturbed tomb of the ancient and mysterious Wari civilisation, digging up the mummified bodies of three queens alongside golden treasures and grisly human sacrifices.

The 1,200-year-old "Temple Of The Dead" was unearthed in El Castillo de Huarmey.

This is situated four hours north of Lima, the Peruvian capital which every year attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists on city breaks.

The ancient site sheds much new light on the enigmatic Wari empire that governed the Andes long before their better-known Incan successors.

The mausoleum, unearthed earlier this year at a coastal pyramid location, contained gold pieces, ceramics, golden weaving tools, knives and 63 bodies about 1,300 years old.

Most of the skeletons found in the burial chamber were mummified women sitting upright - indicating royalty and suggesting Wari women held more power than earlier believed.

The Wari, who came from Peru's southern highlands and ruled a massive region of the country from 500 to 1000 AD, undertook multiple burials and sent their loved ones into the afterlife with provisions and the tools of their trade.

Bio-archaeologist Wieslaw Wieckowski said six skeletons remained unwrapped and seem to have been human sacrifices for the mummified nobility.

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