1,400-year-old pyramid 'used for ritual sacrifices'

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Washington, Oct 22 (ANI): Archaeologists have found remains of five females who may have been ritually sacrificed in a 1,400-year-old flat-topped pyramid in the Lamayaeque region's southern Jequetepeque Valley.

But it's the signs of life that make a half-excavated Peruvian pyramid of the Moche culture stand out, archaeologists say.

"Often these pyramidal mounds were built as mortuaries more than anything else," National Geographic News quoted excavation co-leader and University of Toronto archaeologist Edward Swenson as saying.

The pyramid supported residences for up to a couple dozen elites, who oversaw and perhaps took part in copper production at the site, evidence suggests.

The pre-Inca pyramid dwellers likely presided over important rituals, feasted on roasted llama and guinea pig, and drank corn beer, according to archaeologists working at the site.

During the first month of the dig, the team uncovered the mud-brick pyramid within the mound as well as the residences. Later digging turned up evidence of human sacrifice on a rooftop platform: detached body parts and the corpses of five young women, all with signs of ritual burning and one with a rope around her neck.

Excavations indicate that the Huaca Colorada pyramid may have been home to a group of elite coppersmiths.

On lower levels of the pyramid, for example, are smelting pits, where copper tools and ornaments were fashioned. The team also found knives, spatulas, and other copper goods on the pyramid.

The pyramid excavation is in its infancy, according to Swenson, and that raises hopes that the monument may yet reveal more about the poorly understood Moche.

The Huaca Colorada excavations, he added, should provide "quite a lot of information on the way of life of the Moche in their terminal years," said Moche expert Luis Jaime Castillo Butters. (ANI)

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