The Lord of Sipan
The most significant Moche archaeological sites are temples or holy places (Huaca) and within these were buried the most important people from their society. Huaca Rajada, located 20 miles east of Chiclayo, was initially discovered by grave robbers (huaqueros) from the local village of Sipan. However, when a local archaeologist (Dr Walter Alva) became aware of a large influx of precious objects flooding the market in early 1987, he realised that something special had been found. With a team of experts he quickly located the partially looted site and fortunately discovered several untouched tombs, one of which turned out to be the most impressive Moche tomb found to date.
The Lord of Sipan (as he has now become known) was a Moche ruler of some importance and he was buried in all of his finery. The jewellery and ornaments found with the body were made of gold, silver, copper and semi-precious stones. These included, headdresses, a face mask, a pectoral (breast plate), necklaces, nose rings, ear rings and other items, indicating that he was of the highest rank.
One of the more unusual facts about this burial were the number of people and animals who were also interred with him. These included a warrior guard whose feet had been amputated to stop him leaving once they arrived in the afterworld, three young woman (perhaps his concubines), two assistants, a servant and a child (to lead the way in to the next world). In addition, there was a dog and two llamas.
In order to display (and protect) the amazing artifacts found, the impressive Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipán has been built in the nearby city of Lambayeque and it is here you admire the staggering amount of objects found and craftsmanship that went into making some of the individual items.