Tomb Discovered In Peru: Archaeologists Uncover Amazing Untouched Royal Wari Burial Site

By iScienceTimes Staff on June 27, 2013 5:43 PM EDT

wari
In Peru, archaeologists have uncovered an un-looted Wari royal tomb. Above is a museum piece of Wari pottery (not from the royal tomb). (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A royal tomb in Peru laden with gold and other riches has been uncovered by awestruck archaeologists.

The tomb, which held the graves of three Wari queens, contained gold, silver and what may have been human sacrifices. The Wari ruled over what is now Peru between 700 and 1,000 A.D, hundreds of years before the more well-known Inca Empire.

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The Wari tomb was discovered at the El Castillo de Huarmey archaeological site, 175 miles north of Lima. The 1,200-year-old Wari tomb is the discovery of Polish archaeologist Milosz Giersz, a University of Warwaw professor who was both elated and terrified when he came across the perfectly preserved burial site. Sites in nearby Peru had been looted repeatedly, so he kept his find secret.

"I had a nightmare about the possibility [of looting]," said Giersz,   

Over the course of several months, Giersz and his team excavated the site as quietly as possible, removing 30 tons of rock to reveal 1,000 artifacts and more than 60 bodies. Among the treasures were inlaid gold and silver ear-ornaments, bowls, ritual axes and ceramics from all over the Andes.

"We are talking about the first unearthed royal imperial tomb," said Giersz.

The Wari tomb may have been untouched by looters because of its deep underground location. Three years ago Giersz and his team were studying aerial photography of Peru, when they spotted traces of an underground structure that turned out to be the Wari tomb.

The find is particularly exciting because little is known about the Wari. Such a well-preserved site is an archaeologist's ultimate dream, and the archaeologists hope that the uncovering of the Wari tomb, which may take years, will help fill in gaps in the history of the Wari Empire.   

"The Wari phenomenon can be compared to the empire of Alexander the Great," Krzystof Makowski Makowski, the project's scientific advisor, told National Geographic. "It's a brief historical phenomenon, but with great consequence."

National Geographic has a gallery of images from the royal tomb find. 

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