The face of a powerful ruler of the ancient Moche civilization of Peru, known as El Señor de Sipán (The Lord of Sipán), has been revealed for the first time following an intensive project to digitally reconstruct his face with the help of forensic anthropology experts. The 2,000-year-old remains of the Lord of Sipán were discovered in 1987 in the tomb complex of Huaca Rajada, buried among dazzling treasures, unlike any seen before in the region.
An analysis of his regalia and iconographic depictions found in his tomb, suggests that this man was a high ranking Moche warrior-priest and a pre-eminent ruler of the Lambayeque valley. This mighty noble was probably viewed by his people as having god-like powers.
The Moche were a pre-Incan civilization who ruled the northern coast of Peru approximately two thousand years ago. They built huge pyramids made of millions of mud bricks and created an extensive network of aqueducts which enabled them to irrigate crops in their dry desert location. They were also pioneers of metal working techniques like gilding and soldering, which enabled them to created extraordinarily intricate jewellery and artifacts.
Little was known about the Moche civilization because they left no written texts to help explain their beliefs and customs. However, the discovery of detailed paintings and murals on pottery work and on temple walls, as well elaborate tombs such as those found at Huaca Rajada, have helped to provide insights into their culture and beliefs. A reconstruction of the Huaca Rajada tomb complex can be seen below.
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