Excavators in Ancash have come upon an ancient Inca-Chimú tomb containing multiple burials, fine textiles, jewelry, and musical instruments.
Archaeologists investigating the complex in the Samanco district deem the discovery as a new window into the relationship between the Inca and the cultures they conquered.
Archaeologists Matthew Helmer and Jeisen Navarro were behind the dig. National Geographic reports that the tomb dates to the 15th or 16th century, likely shortly before the Spanish conquest of Peru, and includes 20 flutes made out of cane grass.
The Chimú culture originated around 900 AD in the northern coast of Peru, and were conquered by the Inca in 1470. Matthew Helmer told National Geographic that the discovery of the tomb was an opportunity to learn more about Inca-Chimú relationship. The Chimú warred with the Inca before being conquered. Tombs such as this one indicate that the Incas allowed previous coastal beliefs to continue rather than impose their own pantheon during the consolidation of their empire.
Helmer added that This is one of the very few Chimú-Inca tombs ever excavated. It reveals interesting details about the coastal Andean world just prior to European contact.
National Geographic reports that the tomb contains the remains of six people, four of whom are believed to be noble musicians and weavers. Two women were apparently sacrificed to accompany the deceased elite into the afterlife. For photos of the objects that were unearthed, click here.
Cover photo: National Geographic
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