The "Lady of Cao" (as it has been named) is the mummified corpse of a noble woman who reigned in Peru around 300-400 AD. The mummy was found in 2006 by archeologist Regulo Franco, in an ancient ceremonial site called "El Brujo" (spanish for "The Sorcerer").

The tomb is located near a crumbling pyramid called Huaca Cao Viejo, ruins which were found first by Spanish Conquistadores. Archaeologists confirmed that it is one of the best preserved relics from the Moche civilization, which flourished until 700 AD. The people who buried the corpse cast cinnabar over its skin, which explains its red-orange hue and its good state of conservation.

The mummy was surrounded by ceremonial items such as jewelry and weapons. Next to it there were remains of an adolescent girl, who had been sacrificed and placed in the tomb as guardian for the lady during her passing to the world of the dead. The presence of gold, jewelry and fine items confirms that the woman was an important person, but items such as war clubs have puzzled anthropologist John Verano, who asserts that such items, linked to warfare, aren't usually associated with females.

The woman had tattoos representing snakes on arms and legs, and she gave birth at least once because there are scars on certain bones. Verano explained that she would have been considered a young adult (probably around the age of 25), as some Moche people could reach the age of 60 or 70.

External links

Tattooed mummy found in Peru

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