First Unlooted Royal Tomb of Its Kind Unearthed in Peru
Three queens were buried with golden treasures, human sacrifices.
Images of winged,
supernatural beings adorn a pair of heavy gold-and-silver ear ornaments
that one high-ranking Wari woman wore to her grave in the imperial tomb
at El Castillo de Huarmey. In all, the archaeological team found the
remains of 63 individuals, including three Wari queens.
It was a stunning discovery: the first unlooted imperial tomb of the Wari, the ancient civilization that built South America's earliest empire between 700 and 1000 A.D. Yet it wasn't happiness that Milosz Giersz felt when he first glimpsed gold in the dim recesses of the burial chamber in northern Peru.
Giersz, an archaeologist at the University of Warsaw in
Poland, realized at once that if word leaked out that his
Polish-Peruvian team had discovered a 1,200-year-old "temple of the
dead" filled with precious gold and silver artifacts, looters would
descend on the site in droves. "I had a nightmare about the
possibility," says Giersz.