'Moche' Amazons ?..
- some Moche art'Mohican Amazons'?Mummy from Peruvian 'Mohican/Moche' culture discoveredMagdalena De Cao, Nov 13: Peruvian archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved mummy that sheds new light on Peru's ancient Moche culture. The mummy, believed to be that of a female leader or high personage, was discovered in a ceremonial adobe complex located within the El Brujo archaeological site near the city of Trujillo in north western Peru.
The complex, believed to date from the early Christian era, was decorated with religious friezes, and covered over to ensure that the mummy remained perfectly preserved with the passage of time.
Archaeologists found the mummy carefully wrapped in several layers of textiles and buried with the body of another female, who had been sacrificed as a burial offering to the gods. Also found in the wrapped bundle were a number of war staffs and various jewels and ornate clothing, leading archaeologists to believe the woman was of high standing within the culture.
For archaeologist Regulo Franco Jordan, the discovery is hugely significant, particularly due to the fact that the mummy bears tattoos along her arms of snakes and spiders, pointing to a probable political or religious leadership role within the Pre-Incan Moche culture.
"It's a sensational discovery. It's a female leader of her time who lived up to 300 years AD approximately. She died at 25, very young, and one of the things that called the archaeologists' attention is that her body is tattoed with magic-religious figures who appear in the representations on the artistic pottery," he told a news agency.
Up until 'now,' it was believed that this ancient society, which inhabited the area between 100 and 800 AD, was governed by male only rulers. This latest discovery turns such thinking on its head, and may provide further clues into the Moche culture.
Apart from the ornate objects found within the burial site, archaeologists are most excited about the presence of weapons, like the two war staffs, such items usually being found only in the graves of men.
Marco Aveggio coordinates the El Brujo (translated as "The Wizard") archaeological project, so-named because of the constant influx of local shamans in the area, who come to perform rituals in what they consider to be a sacred area. He believes the discovery has profound implications for studies of the Moche period.
"We are finding for the first time a complete event, which is shedding light on the burial customs during the Moche period, and we are seeing that this person had been buried with two big staffs (clubs) which had never been found in relation to a woman before, because the staffs are what gives political power to the person being buried," he said.
The mummy was found in a 2,500 metre squared complex dating from the early years of Christianity, decorated with religious friezes believed to be dedicated to the Moche God Aiapaec, known as the Decapitator.
The Moche culture was a warlike culture which habitually practised decapitation.
She is believed to have died while giving birth, given that her abdominal area was dilated and scarred, although investigations are continuing to ascertain the exact cause of death.