Remains of wealthy pre-Inca people unearthed at ancient capital in Peru

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Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the remains of what is believed to be wealthy members of the Chimu civilization, a pre-Inca society that thrived for centuries in arid plains nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Andes Mountains.

The remains of eleven individuals, estimated to be around 800 years old, were found buried with necklaces, earrings and bracelets, according to lead archeologist Sinthya Cueva.

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“These were probably members of the Chimu’s governing class,” she said, pointing to the adornments found with them.

Cueva did not detail the materials used to craft them. Chimu-era jewelry unearthed in other excavations was often made of bronze or gold.

The discovery was made in the Chimu capital of Chan Chan, a short distance north of the modern Peruvian city of Trujillo.

The ancient capital is known for its elaborate mud-brick architecture that once formed one of the largest adobe cities in the world.

Cueva said the remains had been “disturbed” and showed signs of violent death, adding they were located in a part of the city that does not have the common characteristics of a cemetery.

The discovery was made as part of an excavation that began in April and which aims to restore the perimeter walls of a palace complex.

The Chimu flourished along the coastal plains of northern Peru, from around 800 AD through the 1400s, and are famed for their ornate art, including ceramics, metalwork and textiles, in addition to their use of highly productive terrace agriculture and long-distance trade networks along the Pacific coast.

They were subjugated by the Inca in the late 1400s, several decades before Spanish invaders conquered the Inca in 1532.

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