In the central part of the Lambayeque River, in the Saña district, is the town of Sipán, a small but cozy place that is home to less than two thousand inhabitants. But what makes this space special in the province of Chiclayo, in the department of Lambayeque? It happens that, in its territory, a set of three pyramids made of adobe is located, which they called Huaca Rajada.
The wonderful thing about this archaeological complex, which was initially occupied by the Moche culture to later give way to the Lambayeque culture, is that the trio of tombs found in its vicinity were part of the nobility. And, as if that were not enough, in one of them the remains of none other than the Lord of Sipán, an ancient Mochica ruler from the 3rd century, were found.
The find was so impressive for basically three reasons. The first is that this area was constantly looted by looters, a name given to people who steal valuables from the huacas. The second was that, despite the location and the circumstances that surrounded it, the tomb of the Lord of Sipan was never devastated. It remained intact until its discovery, made by the team of the Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva, in 1987.
The third reason was because this unveiling had global repercussions: never in history had the intact remains of such a high rank of the ancient Peruvian civilization been found. It is, to date, the only find made in this condition. And the magnitude of the facts by the man found increases: a powerful Moche ruler and warrior who took his steps on earth in the years 250 AD. c.
As impressive as the discovery of the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, were the objects, human and animal remains found next to it. Around 600 belongings were collected in his tomb, which include impressive ornaments of gold, silver, turquoise and spondylus, a type of sea shell with which artistic pieces were made. As impressive as his grave goods, it was discovering that the remains of the 8 people who accompanied him served as a sacrifice to accompany the nobleman on his journey through the other world.
The skeletons found next to the Lord of Sipán were of four men (it is presumed that two were guardians and the other pair, trusted servants), three women and a child. In addition, the remains of a dog and two llamas were present.
In Huaca Rajada, you can find an exact replica of the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, just as it was found. However, his remains were transferred to the modern Royal Tombs of Sipán museum, a tourist attraction in northern Peru, inaugurated in 2002. In the Huaca Rajada Sipán Site Museum, located in the Saña district, impressive pieces are exhibited ceramics, ornaments and jewelry from the Moche, Lambayeque and Chimú cultures.
Made up of two adobe pyramids and a burial platform, where in 1987 the burial chambers of characters from the Mochica nobility who ruled the valley between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD were discovered, including the so-called Lord of Sipán The origin of this finding was from looting. Subsequently, archaeologists from the Brüning museum in Lambayeque intervened and discovered the tomb of an important character from the Mochica period, later called "El Señor de Sipán".
In the Funeral Chamber, 8 skeletons were found, which belonged to servants, concubines and warriors who surrounded the sarcophagus as an offering of the main occupant, accompanied by funerary equipment consisting of ornaments, headdresses, emblems and others made of gold and silver, gilded copper, semi-precious stones such as turquoise, pencil lazuli, etc. Next to the burial chamber of the Lord of Sipán, a repository of ceramic offerings with remains of food, some copper ornaments, spondylus shells and bones of sacrificed llamas was found. The arrangement suggests a ritual scenery. These offerings honored and accompanied the Lord on his journey to the afterlife. All this discovery was considered the richest tomb in the world and many media compared it with that of Tutankhamun in Egypt. In the following years, other important tombs were recorded, such as the so-called Old Lord of Sipán, Priest and various warriors and nobles.
In May 2007, the archaeological excavations in the funerary platform and in the patios located between the pyramids are restarted with the objective of knowing the architectural characteristics of the monument.
In the Funeral Platform, a unit was reopened where there was a great expectation of finding a warrior, a military chief or someone important in the environment of the Moche lords. After several weeks of work, the archaeologists discover the interior of the disintegrated sarcophagus; copper ornaments, highlighting a V-shaped crown, headdresses, combat weapons, feline heads, a gold nose ring, two goblets. In addition, a solid copper sculpture, which represents a standing man with an owl mask with turquoise appliqués in the eyes and earmuffs; He also carries a shield, stolid, club, a wide owl crown, a pair of necklaces with bird heads and an owl with its wings spread on its back.
The burial pattern is similar to that of the Tomb of the Lord of Sipán, as they show niches, offerings and a companion (remains of a young woman) to accompany him on his journey to eternity. This finding was called the priest-warrior and would correspond to the character D or fourth character of the iconographic theme called "The Presentation" where four characters of the Mochica elite are shown.
In 2009, the oldest tomb found in Sipán was found, corresponding to the beginning of the Mochica occupation in Sipán (Early Mochica), this character has been called the young warrior, because he was 21 years old at the time of his death. and for carrying a shield and a spear or club base; He also has an owl crown and two sculptural bottles representing the same bird as emblems of his hierarchy.
If you want to know the archaeological zone where the intact tomb of the Lord of Sipán was discovered, you can do so by visiting the Huaca Rajada - Sipán Site Museum.
Based on findings obtained in 2007, this museum recreates the context in which pre-Hispanic funerary events of 3 Mochica elite characters took place: the Warrior Priest (tomb 14), the Warrior Lord (tomb 16) and the Noble Warrior (tomb 15 ), the oldest character found to date in Sipán.
Come to the museum located in Campiña Huaca Rajada s/n, Sipán - Pampa Grande highway, Chiclayo (Lambayeque), from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. m. to 5:00 p.m. m.
Once in the museum, buy your ticket at the museum ticket office:
Present your ticket, enter the museum and safely enjoy the history of our ancestors.