Archaeology on a shoestring


Even famous archaeologists cannot count on public funds, it seems.

Ongoing investigations into sites near Chiclayo in Peru’s north run on a tight budget financed, in part, by proceeds from the Sipan Royal Tombs Museum and the arcaheologists’ own money.

Researchers, led by Walter Alva—the archaeologist made famous for his discovery of the tomb of the “Lord of Sipan”—are investigating the origins of the Mochica culture, regarded as one of the most sophisticated Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas.

Recently Alva’s team announced the discovery of an ancient adobe temple near Chiclayo: coloured yellow and white, and badly eroded by torrential rains, but still bearing numerous drawings and writing.

“We are studying not just the great monuments belonging to the Classic phase of the culture, but smaller ruins in marginal valley areas that could prove to be the first temples and palaces,” Dr Alva told Spanish news agency _Efe_.

The researchers toil on an “extensive”, 2,500-hectare site. So far, they have found stone buildings and canals, and a cemetery, as well as the temple.

Uncovered in 1987, the Mochica ruler’s tomb is comparable in splendour and significance to that of Tutankhamun, and revealed myriad artefacts, including golden masks, crowns, jewellery, sceptres, and graffiti.

Dr Alva indicated that ongoing work has to be done with careful attention to funding, which he hopes will be received in 2016.

More than 6,000 people visited the museum at Lambayeque on Monday, International Museum Day, _Andina_ reports; more than twice the number on the same day last year.

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