TIWANAKU, Bolivia (Reuters) – Archeologists have uncovered the 1,300-year-old skeleton of a ruler or priest of the ancient Tiwanaku civilization together with precious jewels inside a much-looted pyramid in western Bolivia.
The bones are “in very good condition” and belong to either “a ruler or a priest,” Roger Angel Cossio, the Bolivian archeologist who made the discovery, told Reuters on Wednesday.
He said the tomb — containing a diadem and fist-sized carved pendant of solid gold — survived centuries of looting by Spanish invaders and unscrupulous raiders who depleted Tiwanaku of many precious treasures.
“After so much looting… miraculously this has stayed to tell us the history,” Cossio said.
“It’s a complete body… next to it are jewels, offerings and a llama,” he said.
The llama may have been a status symbol or a source of food for the journey to the afterlife, archeologists
The corpse was found in a niche carved inside the 15-yard-high (15-metre-high) Akapana pyramid, which was built around 1200 BC and is described by experts as one of the biggest pre-Columbian constructions in South America.
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