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Inside the untouched tomb of Peru’s ancient Wari royals

Inside the untouched tomb of Peru’s ancient Wari royals

Posted by Juan Gavasa on May 26, 2014

For archeologists, the unlooted Wari tomb at El Castillo de Huarmey in Peru was truly full of buried treasure.

The untouched mausoleum contained not only gold jewelry and copper-alloy axes, but also mummified women believed to have been queens and a painted flask that tells of a Wari lord traveling by raft.

The June issue of National Geographic offers a peek into the chambers and artifacts that are helping scholars and archeologists pieces together the history of the mysterious people who established an empire in the Andes centuries before the Incas.

A team of Polish and Peruvian archeologists lead by Milosz Giersz announced the discovery of the royal tomb in June 2013.

They had actually found it a few months earlier but kept their revolutionary find under wraps out of fear that modern day looters would descend upon the at-least-1,000-year-old temple.

El Castillo de Huarmey, which is located about 185 miles north of Lima, had already been hit by grave robbers who tunneled into the hillside.

However, they missed the regal burial chambers that were filled with the remains of well-to-do Wari women and their attendants, as well as those of human sacrifices.

Little is known about the ancient Wari civilization. Archeologists believe they started their rise to power in the seventh century A.D., and built the first Andean empire between 700 and 1000 A.D.

They had no known writing system and left no records, so the discoveries at El Castillo are helping paint a clearer picture of the way the Wari expanded and ruled their empire.

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