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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:45 AM

First Unlooted Royal Tomb of Its Kind Unearthed in Peru

Three queens were buried with golden treasures, human sacrifices.



Heather Pringle
for National Geographic
Published June 27, 2013

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.

So Giersz and project co-director Roberto Pimentel Nita kept their discovery secret. Digging quietly for months in one of the burial chambers, the archaeologists collected more than a thousand artifacts, including sophisticated gold and silver jewelry, bronze axes, and gold tools, along with the bodies of three Wari queens and 60 other individuals, some of whom were probably human sacrifices. (Related: "First Pictures: Peru's Rare, Unlooted Royal Tomb"

Peru's Minister of Culture and other dignitaries will officially announce the discovery today at a press conference at the site. Krzysztof Makowski Hanula, an archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima and the project's scientific adviser, said the newly unearthed temple of the dead "is like a pantheon, like a mausoleum of all the Wari nobility in the region."

more

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130627-peru-archaeology-wari-south-america-human-sacrifice-royal-ancient-world/

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Reply First Unlooted Royal Tomb of Its Kind Unearthed in Peru (Original post)
n2doc Jun 2013 OP
Vinnie From Indy Jun 2013 #1
Richard D Jun 2013 #2
Lordquinton Jun 2013 #7
MichiganVote Jun 2013 #3
Arctic Dave Jun 2013 #4
HooptieWagon Jun 2013 #5
gtar100 Jun 2013 #6
Paulie Jun 2013 #8
Posteritatis Jun 2013 #10
BigL Jun 2013 #9

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:48 AM

1. Very cool!

This will undoubtedly lead to a great deal of new understanding of this culture!

Another great post N2Doc!

cheers!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 06:19 PM

2. Now...

Now it's been legally looted.

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Response to Richard D (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:57 AM

7. Now that it's been found

the items and mummies held within have been protected and moved to more secure locations so they don't actually get looted and disappear forever into private collections/melted and destroyed forever.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 07:37 PM

3. Interesting.

 

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:47 PM

4. What an amazing find!

 

Incredible artifacts.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 12:48 AM

5. Pretty cool.

 

I'm surprised the Conquistadors didn't loot it.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:11 AM

6. I can only imagine the kind of mentality that believes it's okay to bury gold.

In today's world, that would be sacrilege, unimaginable, or explained only by insanity. What was the actual valuation of gold to them... something nice to have or something more valuable than that? I don't think we can just project our own thoughts on this ancient culture.

I wonder also just how willing those people were who were sacrificed. That sounds incredibly insane to me too.

I hope the archeology team took lots of pictures of exactly how they found it in its undisturbed state.

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:13 AM

8. I thought gold bugs were always burying gold in their backyards

to protect it from the banksters and the gubment.

"I don't think we can just project our own thoughts on this ancient culture" and "That sounds incredibly insane to me too" are mutually exclusive thoughts.

Given the team was actual archeologists the odds are good they followed standard scientific practices.

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 05:08 PM

10. They go pretty far out of their way to get a comprehensive 'before' picture at such things

A few of my friends are archaeologists (one working near, though not in, that area); they're meticulous to an extent that some people would probably consider insane in order to make sure nothing's missed and everything's original state is thoroughly documented.

One of them's actually spent either two or three full field seasons working on a single house in Greece on the "trowel and toothbrush" level of detail instead of the "pick and shovel" level. For something as major as an intact royal tomb they're going to be careful indeed.

(That said, a lot of ancient societies would be shocked at the implicit poverty of our own graves. "You send them to the afterlife with nothing?! Do your dead mean so little?!" There's a wide variety of attitudes around such things.)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 04:31 PM

9. Stunning!

I have always been a big fan of the Central/South American native tribes of old, so this is an absolutely spectacular find!

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