Archaeologists in Peru say they have unearthed the previously unknown tomb of a nobleman from a pre-Inca civilization known as the Moche. The tomb contained the remains of an adult male, plus artifacts indicating the man's elite status, according to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio.
Among the most intriguing artifacts are ornamental metal pieces fashioned to look like feline paws with claws. The paws may have been part of a ritual costume used in ceremonial combat, El Comercio reported. The loser would be sacrificed, while the winner would get the costume.
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This claw and fangs, discovered in the tomb of a Moche nobleman, may have been used as part of a ritual costume, archaeologists say.
Archaeologist Santiago Uceda, co-director of the Huaca de la Luna excavation in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, displayed the pieces as well as a copper scepter, bronze earrings, a mask and ceremonial ceramics on Thursday. "The scepter signifies power; the earrings, status; and the ceramic piece is typical of an elite personage," Uceda told El Comercio.
He said the tomb and its contents, which are thought to be 1,500 years old, could shed new light on the Moche culture, an agricultural and artistic society that collapsed around the year 800.
First published July 11 2014, 7:29 PM
Alan Boyle is the science editor for NBC News Digital. He joined MSNBC.com at its inception in July 1996, and took on the science role in July 1997 with the landing of NASA's Mars Pathfinder probe. Boyle is responsible for coverage of science and space for NBCNews.com.
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Boyle joined NBCNews.com from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he was the foreign desk editor from 1987 to 1996. Boyle has won awards for science journalism from numerous organizations, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers. Boyle is the author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference." He lives in Bellevue, Wash.