Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed a royal tomb with three mummified women, as well as gold and silver artefacts from about 1,200 years ago.
The discovery at El Castillo de Huarmey site, 299km north from Lima, could provide new information about the Wari empire, which ruled in the Andes before the rise of the Inca civilisation.
Speaking to National Geographic, Milosz Giersz, leading the Polish-Peruvian team said he "had a nightmare about the possibility" of looters descending on the site if word got out about the discovery.
So the team kept the tomb secret, digging for months and quietly collected more than a thousand artefacts including gold and silver jewellery, bronze axes and gold tools, along with the bodies of three Wari queens and 60 other mummies, some of whom could have been human sacrifices.
According to Reuters, a number of the mummified bodies were found sitting upright, indicating royalty and suggesting Wari women held more power than previously thought.
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