A popular tourist attraction, the Sipan Tombs are located in the town of Sipán in the northern Peru coastal region, around 20 miles east of the city of Chiclayo and 45–50 miles away from Lambayeque. The site belonged to the Moche (Mochican) culture that mainly worshipped the god called Ai Apaec (Ayapec) as “principal” god or deity. The Mochean people ruled this region from around 1 AD to 700 AD. The Moche were eventually conquered by the Chimu (their southern neighbors) in 1375.
The burial mound, or mausoleum, contains four tombs. They were uncovered by Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva in 1987.
The Lord of Sipán is the name of a mummy of a Mochican warrior priest. The tomb itself is said to rival that of Tutankhamen in terms of the amount and grandeur of objects buried with him. When the Sipan Tomb was found – untouched by thieves or vandals – the Lord of Sipan was covered in and surrounded with an abundance of gold, silver and jewels. Many consider this discovery to be one of the most important finds in the history of Peruvian archaeology.
The artifacts within the The Lord of Sipan’s tomb include jewels, ceramics, gold and silver objects and pieces made of carved wood, are all displayed at the nearby Sipan Tombs Museum, which is even structured to look like the tomb itself. Many of the artifacts in his tomb are believed to be related to religious practices. They include a cup or bowl for the sacrifices, a metal crown adorned with an owl with its wings extended, and other items for worship of the moon.
The Lord of Sipan was found amongst other skeletons, including those of a dog, a llama and even two young women, possibly his concubines, believed to have been sacrificed upon his death.
Beneath the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, two other tombs were discovered – that of a priest and of the Old Lord of Sipan. DNA analysis of the remains established that the priest was contemporary with the Lord of Sipan.
DNA analysis of remains of the Old Lord of Sipan proved that he was a direct ancestor of the Lord of Sipan. In his tomb were found the remains of a young woman, a likely sacrifice to accompany him to the next life. Also there were sumptuous costumes embroidered with gold and silver.
The Sipan Tomb Museum is very much a labour of love, created by the archaeologists who unearthed and protected these artifacts.
With thanks to Historvius.com
Here is a quick glimpse of some of the beautiful treasures found at the tomb of the Lord of Sipan: