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SIPAN LORD OF THE DESERT

Discovery and restoration

to relate image in the multimedia gallery Discovery took place on July 26. It was the moment when the archeologists, headed by Walter Alva, discovered they were faced with the sumptuous tomb of a top-ranking man in the hierarchy of the Mochica culture of Ancient Peru. After cleaning the wooden roof that covered the tomb and removing the first sediments that covered the interior of what evidently was a sarcophagus, there appeared the figure in miniature on the principal earring of the Lord - a premonitory announcement of what the tomb would be, because that object apparently represented the Lord, flanked by his two warriors.

For the first time, the splendid magnificence of a governor of ancient Peru was revealed. Eight skeletons of servants, concubines and warriors surrounded the wood coffin containing the remains of the chief occupants, with its virtual treasure of ornaments, headdresses, emblems and insignia of gold, silver, copper gilt and semi-precious stones. These objects constituted the symbols of power of the Lord of Sipan who died 1,700 years ago, and are a real compendium of exquisite art, metallurgical techniques and inestimable historical Information for reconstructing the level of development, organization, cultural relations and religious thought of the Mochicas, one of the most important American cultures that rose based on the irrigation of the desert coast of Peru.

Once excavation began, beneath the ruins and irregular perforations were found some vessels, ornaments and an impressive ceremonial scepter in cast copper topped by a miniaturist representation of a complex Mochica palace, decorated with warrior symbols and an icon of profound, enigmatic symbology: a supernatural divinity copulates with a woman on the crescent Moon, representing perhaps the myth of the creation or fertilization of the Earth?

Then at the central level of the platform there was registered, intact, a small chamber containing as offerings: 1,150 pottery vessels, remains of food, four copper crowns, llama bones and the skeleton of a man, placed there to accompany someone of very high rank: the Lord (Siec, in the Mochica language).


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