Following on our interesting day yesterday, we headed north to see two Mochican museums. One museum covered the findings of a site discovered in 1987 when grave robbers were arrested with loot from a nearby mound. It ultimately yielded an amazing set of graves, including those of the nicknamed Lord of Sipán and Ancient Lord of Sipán. The "Ancient" Lord of Sipán's tomb predates that of his successor by 300 years; they appear to have been related via maternal bloodlines. Suffice it to say that the museum of artifacts, including copper, gold plate, silver, jewelry and figurines, from the 14 tombs covers three FLOORS. Some of these tombs date from 300 AD.
The Lady Cao Museum, which is about 4 hours away from the Lords of Sipán Museum, holds findings from a pyramid that is in many ways related to Huaca de La Luna...
Though the Lacy Cao pyramid is a little smaller than that of Huaca de Luna, the stupendous characteristic of this site (and museum) is the woman-priestess found in a tomb there. She was effectively mummified by the manner and location in which she was buried, and a crazy numbers of artifacts, including gold, were found with her. Indeed, all sorts of mysterious questions surround her: Did she die in childbirth? Does she represent a "fourth" person in various iconography? Does her presence mean that Moche society was not actually as patriarchal as archaeologists initially believed? (!) What is the relationship between her pyramid and that of Huaca de La Luna? This mummy's location was only uncovered in 2006.
After two days in Northern Peru, I have to wonder why Americans are not flooding Northern Peru. I've been thinking all day about why we have invested so much energy in Tutankhamen when this is within spitting distance of the U.S. Certainly, the Tut findings were spectacular. Mystery surrounds the very short time period when he and Nefertiti were alive, and where she might be buried. Rome eventually conquered his descendants, so we have written records of the dynasties of Egypt. Living around 1330 BC, his life and times predate the Moche by about 1600 years. Yet, in South America, we have this incredibly rich, mysterious culture, about which we barely know anything. They held sway for nearly 600 years. They had amazing metal working abilities and built crazy numbers of pyramids all over the place. We believe they understood and feared El Niño. The only reason I can think of that we don't know more about this is that we have been distracted. On our behalf, I could add that there is really limited information on the internet, and they don't let you take photos in the museums, so the Moche and these interesting sites are hard to research.
If you're curious at all about this, some videos are available on YouTube:
In the middle of the drive, we had lunch at a Paso Horse Breeder's Home. Paso horses move the legs on one side of their body together, and then move the other set, making for an unusually smooth ride. They are bred for this trait but must also be trained to use it "beautifully."