Sican Culture surgeon found in funerary bundle

Archaeologists have revealed that a funerary bundle excavated in the southern necropolis at the Mausoleum Temple of Huaca Las Ventanas, located in the Lambayeque region of Peru contains the remains of a person who served as a surgeon in the Sican Culture period.

The Sican culture, also referred to as Lambayeque culture, inhabited what is now the north coast of Peru between around AD 750 and 1375 after the collapse of the Moche culture (although some academics debate whether the two are separate cultures).

Based on cultural changes and distinct pottery production, the Sican culture is divided into three major periods – the Early Sican (AD 700 to 900), the Middle Sican (AD 900 to 1100), and the Late Sican (AD 1100 to 1375).

The funerary bundle at Huaca Las Ventanas was first excavated between 2010 and 2011, but due to the threat of flooding from the La Leche River, the remains and soil around it was removed and placed into storage for preservation.

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Thanks to funding from the National Geographic Fund, the bundle was finally excavated in late 2021, revealing an individual from the Middle Sican period around AD 900-1050. Based on the type of good associated within the bundle, the researchers suggest that the individual likely served as a surgeon.

The Director of the Sican National Museum told ANDINA that: “The bundle also included gilt copper bowls and a tumi (a ceremonial knife). The most interesting thing was the set of awls, needles, and knives, several of which with a cutting edge on one side and a blunt edge on the other side; the sizes vary, and some have wooden handles”.

The bundle also included a golden mask pigmented with cinnabar, a large bronze pectoral piece, a garment with copper plates, and a huaco with two spouts.


Header Image Credit : ANDINA

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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