Saturday, April 11, 2009
Jewelry, Skeletons Found in Moche Tomb
This 1,500-year-old gilded-copper-and-seashell funerary mask was found several months ago in a treasure-filled tomb of the Moche culture in Peru. It's one of two masks that shielded the face of the so-called Lord of Ucupe.
Archaeologists believe the Lord of Ucupe in life would have been covered nearly head to toe in shining metal, so as to dazzle and distract his subjects. The tomb ~ found at the base of a mud-brick pyramid ~ also contained 19 golden headdresses, various pieces of jewelry and the 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. 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.