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Ancient Tomb Of Wari Women Found In Peru
Archaeologists have unearthed a massive royal tomb full of mummified women in Peru, providing clues about an enigmatic empire.

Researchers say the discovery will help piece together life of the Wari, who were in the Andes centuries before the rise of the Incan empire.

The Incans are much better known as they were written about in detail by the conquering Spaniards.

"For the first time in the history of archeology in Peru we have found an imperial tomb that belongs to the Wari empire and culture," lead archeologist Milosz Giersz said.

The mausoleum was unearthed a few months ago at a coastal pyramid site called El Castillo de Huarmey 185 miles (299km) north of Lima.

It contains gold pieces, ceramics and 63 skeletons that are about 1,300 years old.

Archaeologists told National Geographic that they kept their work quiet for fear grave robbers would pick the site clean.

Researchers said most of the bodies found in the burial chamber were mummified women sitting upright.

The sitting position of the mummies indicates royalty and suggests Wari women held more power than previously thought.

"The women were buried with finely engraved ear pieces made of precious metals that once were believed to be used only by men," archaeologist Patrycja Przadk said.

Historians believe the Wari, who ruled between 600 and 1100 AD, were the first people to unite diverse tribes into a sophisticated network across most of today's Peruvian Andes.

Bioarchaeologist Wieslaw Wieckowski said six skeletons were not wrapped in textiles and appear to have been human sacrifices for the mummified elite.

"They were people thrown into the grave before the grave was sealed," he said.

"They were lying on their bellies, in an extended position and their limbs went in different directions."

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