In about A.D. 750 this revered woman was buried in a large chamber some 20 feet (6 meters) beneath the ground. The earthen walls of her tomb were painted red, and large niches held offerings of ceramic vessels. Two adults, presumably sacrificed female attendants, were buried with her along with five children.
Her skeleton rested on a low platform at one end of the chamber and was adorned very simply with a bead necklace of local stones. Beside her lay an important clue to her identity—the kind of tall silver goblet that appears in Moche art in scenes of human sacrifice and blood consumption. Such vessels have only been found previously in the tombs of powerful priestess-queens, so that was likely the role this woman played in life.
Story: A. R. Williams, National Geographic | Photo: Luis Jaime Castillo Butters