Photo: Wari Queen by Milosz Giersz
Peruvian archaeologists along with researchers from National Geographic have announced the unprecedented discovery of a 1,200-year-old undisturbed royal tomb believed to belong to the elusive Wari civilization.
The find was officially announced Thursday though it had been unearthed late last year – Peruvian authorities worried that the tomb could be raided by modern day grave robbers.
Archaeologists have been working at the archaeology-rich site for years but it was only three years ago that archaeologist spotted traces of subterranean structures from aerial photos. The structure was buried under heavy rocks which is what experts believe protected it from ancient and modern day looters.
The multi-chamber royal tomb dating from 700-to-1000 A.D. was located at the El Castillo de Huarmey archaeological site some 185 north of the capital city of Lima. Three royal mummies believed to be Wari Queens wearing gold ornamental jewelry and 60 other individuals thought to be human sacrifices mostly female were found in the tomb in separate chambers.
The royal chamber portion of the tomb was made up of three chambers with a stone throne, a ceremonial room, and more than 1,000 royal artifacts including jewelry, bowls, cutlery and tools made of solid gold. In an anti-chamber the human sacrifices were found and are believed to have been thrown into the tomb before it was sealed but after the royal Queens died as a gift to the departing royals. El Castillo is a 110-acre archaeological site made up of a pyramid, multiple adobe structures and a funerary mausoleum belonging to the Chimu kingdom housing mass burial sites for human sacrifices.
Andean archaeologist are excited about this intact find since little is known about the Wari that pre-date the Incas. The Wari Empire is thought to have endured for 500 years and eventually declined due to civil wars.