The recent finding of a high-status woman buried at the archaeological site of Aspero is among the top 10 discoveries of 2016, according to a list issued by the prestigious Institute of Archaeology of America, Peru’s Ministry of Culture highlighted.
The discovery was made in April last year by archaeologist Ruth Shady and her research team, who found the remains at Caral civilization’s fishing town, known as Aspero, located in Supe Puerto district (Barranca) north of Lima city.
The body was unburied from Huaca of the Idols. It was found in a flexed position inside a hole carved into an ash, organic material deposit. The skeleton was wrapped in cotton wool and rush matting, and tied up with ropes.
Investigators analyzed the skeletal remains and concluded the body belonged to a 40-year-old woman. The place and the way she was buried revealed the high rank she held 4,500 years ago.
A pot containing vegetable fragments and seeds placed there is believed to be an offering as part of the burial rite.
In addition, precious objects were placed next to her, perhaps as grave goods: shells of the genus Spondylus, and four “tupus” or bone broaches with bird and monkey motifs.
This is an important discovery, as it helps understand the dynamics of the oldest social organization in the Americas.
Music was an important part of Aspero inhabitants’ daily life. Proof of this is the discovery of eight transverse flutes made of animal bones, placed as offerings in front of a ceremonial enclosure at the archaeological site.
These finds indicate the interaction between the Aspero society and other urban centers of the Caral Civilization; they also show that both societies shared ideological beliefs.