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Chimú Chamber of Musicians

National Geographic grantee Matthew Helmer led a team of archaeologists to excavate at the site of Samanco in 2013. There, they discovered a multi-chambered Chimú tomb, which housed the remains of noble members of the art community.

The remains are believed to be those of elite musicians and weavers. Two human sacrifices, seen in this photo, shared the space with the tomb’s noble occupants. Although the site of Samanco predates the Chimú, dating to 800-200 B.C., the remains suggest the tomb itself dates to the 15th or 16th century A.D., around the time the Inca conquered the Chimú.

"This is one of the very few Chimú-Inca tombs ever excavated," says lead archaeologist Helmer. "It reveals interesting details about the coastal Andean world just prior to European contact."

Text Source: Williams, A.R. “Photos: Ancient Tomb of Chimú Nobles Found in Peru.” National Geographic, December 2013.
Photograph Courtesy:
  • Matthew Helmer