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the Ancient Americas => Peru: Mysteries & Prehistory => Topic started by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:30:30 pm



Title: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:30:30 pm




              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-01-moche-lord-mask_big.jpg)








                                               Ancient "King of Bling" Tomb Revealed in Peru         






April 10, 2009
National Geographic

--Found in a treasure-filled tomb of the Moche culture in Peru, this 1,500-year-old gilded-copper-and-seashell funerary mask was one of two that shielded the face of the so-called Lord of Ucupe. The tomb was discovered in June by a team co-led by archaeologist Steve Bourget of the University of Texas. (Read full story.)

As in his tomb, the Lord of Ucupe in life would have been covered nearly head to toe in shining metal, so as to dazzle and distract his subjects, Bourget said. "This is the king of bling, literally."



--Ted Chamberlain

—Photograph courtesy Dr. Steve Bourget 


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:38:42 pm








                                           "King of Bling" Tomb Sheds Light on Ancient Peru







Kelly Hearn and
Ted Chamberlain
for National Geographic News
April 10, 2009

Packed with treasure in the styles of two ancient orders, the 1,500-year-old tomb of the Moche Indian "king of bling" is like no other, according to archaeologist Steve Bourget.

Discovered in Peru at the base of an eroded mud-brick pyramid, the tomb gradually yielded its contents last summer.

Among the finds: 19 golden headdresses, various pieces of jewelry, and two funerary masks, as well as skeletons of two other men and a pregnant woman.

The tomb's mysterious contents and location—far from known Moche capitals—could shed new light on this little-known culture of Peru's arid northern coast, said Bourget, of the University of Texas at Austin.

Thriving between A.D. 100 and 800, the highly agricultural Moche Indians are known in large part by their stepped pyramids, jewelry-filled tombs, and exquisite pottery and art. (See related pictures of Moche tombs from National Geographic magazine.)


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:40:06 pm



              (http://www.utexas.edu/courses/arh400/quinoweb/images/pueblo1.jpg)

              http://www.utexas.edu/courses/arh400/quinoweb/accomodations.html









Lord of Ucupe



Located some 475 miles (750 kilometers) north of Lima, the newfound tomb was found at the base of Huaca el Pueblo, a mud-brick, stepped pyramid that has eroded into a high, round mound.

The Lord of Ucupe—as locals have come to call the entombed Moche leader—was in his early thirties when he died, Bourget said.

For entombment, the lord was dressed in full regalia—and then some.

His body was covered with a tunic and train of tiny gilded copper plates, and his face was covered with two funerary masks—a first, according to Bourget. A necklace of four-inch (ten-centimeter), disk-shaped silver rattles encircled his neck.

On his head was a gilded crown. Six more crowns and ten V-shaped headdresses called diadems were arrayed on top of his body. Still another diadem was folded in half and placed atop six metal war clubs to serve as a mat for his lifeless body.

The Lord of Ucupe was then wrapped in a large bundle made of reed and textile, along with artifacts suggestive of political status, said Bourget, who co-led the team that found the tomb with Bruno Alva of the Museum Tumbas Reales de Sipán.

Atop it all was placed a final diadem, the first treasure found by the archaeologists as they brushed away the layers of dirt—probably from a cave-in, Bourget said—filling the originally hollow tomb.


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:44:11 pm



              (http://pictures.solardestinations.com/images/maps/Peru/Peru%20Map.gif)

Huaca el Pueblo is located in the Zaña Valley, one hour south of the modern city of Chiclayo and within the small town of Ucupe, Peru. The site rests 20 kilometers inland from the Pacific Coast and only 50 meters above sea level in the dry coastal climate.

http://www.utexas.edu/courses/arh400/quinoweb/accomodations.html









Sandwiched



The lord was entombed atop another man. At the second man's side was yet another man, who himself was atop a pregnant woman.

"We don't know the relationships between the leader and the other males," Bourget said. And "this woman may have been a concubine or a wife. She may have died [of natural causes] while pregnant."

There were no marks on the bones indicating that the people had been sacrificed, he said, adding that textile fragments from around the bodies were radiocarbon dated to A.D. 340 to 540.



(Related: "Mummy of Tattooed Woman Discovered in Moche Pyramid.")


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:47:56 pm








King of Bling



In life, the Lord of Ucupe would probably not have ventured out of his elevated palace unless arrayed much as he was in death, Bourget believes.

Nearly everything the lord wore—tunic, headdress, ear spools, nose mask—would have been made of gilded copper, he said.

"This guy would have shined in the sunlight"—to dazzle and distract, Bourget said.

"This is the king of bling, literally."

Even his jingling necklace and handheld metal rattles served to inspire awe, Bourget said. Because of metal's scarcity, "no commoner could ever make this noise."


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:50:42 pm








A First



The styles and funeral arrangements found at Huaca el Pueblo are similar to those at the famed Moche site of Sipán, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) away.

But archaeologists have never before unearthed anything like the Lord of Ucupe, Bourget said.

"This find is particularly important, because it is the first time we have found an individual outside of Sipán that is the same type as some of the leaders found in Sipán," he said.

But even in storied Sipán, he said, it's unheard of to find so many precious funerary ornaments in a single Moche tomb.

What's more, the artifacts are a jumble of both the more florid early Moche style and the stylistically simpler middle Moche designs.

Bourget suspects the inclusion of both styles was a political act, perhaps designed to help legitimize the new order by linking it with the old.


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 11, 2009, 09:52:18 pm








Theories Debunked?



Similarities between the Lord of Ucupe's tomb and Sipán sites may challenge a widely held theory that northern Moche settlements were highly independent.

"I don't think the idea that they were organized into city-states will fly anymore," Bourget said.

Jeffrey Quilter, deputy director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, wouldn't go quite that far.

Still, Quilter said, "Finding what appears to be a local lord who was part of a larger cultural system but may have been relatively independent—or maybe not—will … be a great contribution to understanding the past."

Charles Stanish, director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles, largely agrees with Bourget.

Referring to medieval European kingdoms, Stanish said "the Moche could have been similarly organized, with semi-autonomous [settlements] being linked by ideology, artifacts, and ways of acting."


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:28:53 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-02-moche-lord-pile_big.jpg)






After brushing away layers of dirt in the newfound tomb and removing the first of many V-shaped, golden diadems, researchers opened a large reed-and-textile bundle to find this: the first of multiple layers of treasure atop the Lord of Ucupe, who ruled 1,500 years ago during the middle Moche period.

Here, a funerary mask in early Moche style (see first picture for a closer look) is shown as the archaeologists first found it in June 2008. Tucked alongside are spangled crowns and another diadem with jagged, curling tendrils.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:31:24 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-03-moche-lord_big.jpg)






Beneath the early-Moche funerary mask lay this middle-Moche mask, complete with nose ornament, photographed during the June 2008 dig in northern Peru. Another V-shaped diadem crosses the Lord of Ucupe's chest. Lower in the photo are four thin, flattened crowns and the first signs of his shining tunic, which was strung with small metal plates.

The tomb complex was found at the base of a mud-brick pyramid--long since eroded into a high mound--in coastal Peru's arid north, where the highly agricultural Moche thrived from A.D. 100 to 800.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:34:20 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-04-moche-lord-old-mask_big.jpg)






The nose ornament protruding from one of the Lord of Ucupe's two funerary masks--the one that touched his face--is in the simpler, middle-Moche style. Because such artifacts were found layered with early-Moche-style objects, archaeologist Steve Bourget believes the entombment took place at a time of cultural transition.

The lord may have been one of the first of a new generation of leaders, Bourget suggests. And the tomb's stylistic mix may have been a way for his dominion to connect with--and derive legitimacy from--past powers while still aligning with more "advanced" Moche settlements.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:37:26 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-05-moche-lord-skull_big.jpg)






Completely uncovered in June 2008, the Lord of Ucupe seems to stare out from beneath one of seven gilded crowns buried with him 1,500 years ago in northern Peru at what is now the Huaca el Pueblo archaeological site. Flanking his skull are two silver ear spools, which would have been placed inside his hugely distended earlobes.

Just under the lord's body was that of another man. To his side in the tomb were a pregnant woman and a man, also stacked.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:39:46 am



               (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-06-moche-lord-bead_big.jpg)






About four inches (ten centimeters) wide, this and other hollow silver necklace pieces with beads inside did double duty as rattles for the 1,500-year-old Moche Lord of Ucupe.

The metallic sounds made by Moche rulers wearing such necklaces and carrying metal rattles would have been an aural status symbol, said archaeologist Steve Bourget. Because of metal's scarcity at that time, "no commoner could ever make this noise."



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:42:00 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-07-moche-lord-decapitator_big.jpg)






This two-inch (five-centimeter) figurine of a "decapitator"--with blade in one hand and severed head in the other--was found in June 2008 on the Lord of Ucupe's chest.

The sculpture, said archaeologist Steve Bourget, represents "what made a king a king" in Moche culture--the authority to decree human sacrifices and ritual warfare.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:44:24 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-08-moche-necklaces_big.jpg)






Dripping with gilded-copper disks, these four thin crowns rested on the Lord of Ucupe's chest for 1,500 years before being excavated in June 2008.

The crowns are among 19 distinct headdresses found in the lord's tomb in northern Peru--an unprecedented find in a Moche burial, said excavation co-leader Steve Bourget.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:46:41 am



               (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-09-moche-lord-diadems_big.jpg)






This gilded-copper diadem, or royal headband, was found bundled with the Moche Lord of Ucupe. An unprecedented 11 diadems accompanied the ancient ruler, including one folded in half and placed atop war clubs to form a mat for the lord's body.

Each diadem is different and may have served a distinct purpose, said archaeologist Steve Bourget. The diadem above, for example, may have helped mark the lord as holding a key position in a then newly prominent Moche sacrifice ritual, Bourget speculates.



—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget


Title: Re: Ancient "King Of Bling" Tomb Revealed In Peru
Post by: Bianca on April 12, 2009, 07:48:56 am



              (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/king-bling-moche-tomb-pictures/images/primary/090410-10-moche-lord-bodies_big.jpg)






Greenish with the patina of 1,500-year-old gilded-copper treasure, the Lord of Ucupe's burial site lies next to that of another male, who was in his late twenties. Beneath that male, invisible under as-yet-unexcavated dirt in June 2008, lies a pregnant woman. The lord himself was entombed atop another man.

"We don't know the relationships between the leader and the other males," said archaeologist Steve Bourget. And "this woman may have been a concubine or a wife. She may have died while pregnant."

Similarities between this and other Moche tombs may challenge a widely held theory that northern Moche settlements were highly independent. "I don't think," Bourget said, "the idea that they were organized into city-states will fly anymore."


—Photograph courtesy
Dr. Steve Bourget