The road to the archaeological site, discovered by renowned archaeologist Walter Alva in 1987, is not far from the town of Sipán, and winds past sugar plantations and through a fertile valley. You'll soon reach a fissured hill—all that remains of a temple called the Huaca Rajada. The three major tombs found here date from about AD 290 and earlier, and together they form one of the most complete archaeological finds in the Western Hemisphere. The tombs have been attributed
to the Moche culture, known for its ornamental pottery and fine metalwork. The most extravagant funerary objects were found in the tomb, now filled with replicas placed exactly where the original objects were discovered. The originals are now on permanent display in the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán in Lambayeque. The Lord of Sipán did not make the journey to the next world alone—he was buried with at least eight people: a warrior (whose feet were amputated to ensure that he didn't run away), three young women, two assistants, a servant, and a child. The tomb also contained a dog and two llamas. Hundreds of ceramic pots contained snacks for the long trip. Archaeological work here is ongoing, as other tombs are still being excavated.
Mar 31, 2009
The excavations continue at Sipán, so it's hard to say what will eventually be uncovered. Visitors may get a chance to witness the work, or may be kept away altogether from certain areas. The finds here have been spectacular, likely with more to come. It's still not developed for tourism as well as it could be.