Archaeologists Find Grave of Elite ‘Musician’ from the Chimu Culture

Archaeologists have uncovered a tomb from the little-known Chimu culture that they believe belonged to an elite musician from the 15th century, daily El Comercio reported.

Archaeologists Matthew Helmer and Jeisen Navarro made the discovery in the Samanco archaeological complex in Ancash region.

Five meters below the surface, the archaeologists found the tomb that contained the individual, believed to be a member of the Chimu elite. To the right of that tomb, the remains of two other individuals were buried, while to the left there were bones of llamas and traces of food.

Helmer and Navarro believe the individual was a musician because they found 20 flutes, as well as carvings of people playing the flutes.

Navarro said he believed the tomb dates back to 1450 AD and shows signs of influence from the Inca, who ruled from their capital in Cusco.

“It is a discovery that mixes the world of Chimu and Inca,” Navarro said. “It is very likely that the Incas used the local chiefs to administer provinces like this in the Nepena valley,” he said.

The discovery was first reported by National Geographic, which funded the archaeological work.

The Chimu culture and its Chimor kingdom rose around 900 AD along Peru’s northern coast. Perhaps the best known archaeological site of the Chimu is Chan Chan, the large, adobe city that served as the capital of Chimor. Chan Chan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

The Incas are believed to have launched a campaign to conquer the Chimor kingdom around 1470 AD.

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