Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Untouched tomb

Polish archaeologist Milosz Giersz mqust have felt like Howard Carter when he breached the 1,200-year-old Peruvian tomb. Much of the 110-acre site north of Lima had been plundered, but the team's aerial and geophysical imaging showed something promising beneath a ridge where the looters had been dumping their rubble for decades. First they uncovered a ceremonial room containing a stone throne. Beneath that was a large chamber sealed with 30 tons of stone fill. Their persistence paid off when they discovered a huge carved wooden mace in the loose rock. Giersz explains, "It was a tomb marker and we knew then that we had the main mausoleum." They had found the first intact imperial tomb of the Wari empire, which thrived between 700 and 1000 A.D. Digging secretly for months in one of the burial chambers, the archaeologists collected more than 1,000 artifacts: inlaid gold and silver jewelry, bronze ritual axes, silver bowls, gold tools, an alabaster drinking cup, knives, coca leaf containers, and painted ceramics (PHOTOS HERE). The riches surrounded 3 Wari queens, who were also honored by human sacrifice. Giersz and his colleagues discovered that 60 people had been mummified and buried with the royals – some of them killed for the occasion.

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