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The reconstructed face of a high ruling Peruvian priestess has been unveiled by researchers from Utah Valley University.
They revealed the reconstruction during a presentation at the Bruning Museum in Lambayeque, Peru.
'This was probably one of the most powerful people in Lambayeque 800 years ago, so she was a central person in the political and religious structure,' said Haagen Klaus one of the project's land researchers.
'This (facial reconstruction) takes an average of five or six months of hard work from our colleagues at Utah Valley University.
The bundle of her possessions found in this tomb at the palace where she undoubtedly lived, together with the remains of another seven individuals, a llama, and “a quantity of really impressive goods in terms of quality and technology,” all point to the high social standing she enjoyed in her lifetime.
Also found beside her remains were “ceremonial urns bearing revealing icons and objects including a golden sceptre with the image of a Lambayeque divinity, items she used during her life that testify to her prominence.”
“This is all extraordinary information for us because it clearly places the woman within the power structure of a complex society, and reveals that power and religious hierarchy were not the sole province of men, since there is no reason to think there were not more women just like her,”
The nation was organized religiously, and its trace in the history gets lost associated to a great drought that lasted more than 30 years.
They had a great domain of agriculture and metallurgy. This culture is famous for the big discoveries in Batán Grande of gold objects, and evidence of arsenic-copper (alloys of several copper mixtures and arsenic that can be described as a brass type) for what is attributed to be the precursor of the brass age in the north of Peru. They produced alloys of gold, silver and arsenic-copper in unprecedented scales in the pre-Hispanic America.
Remains found in the archaeological locations have determined that this nation maintained commercial exchange with populations from Ecuador (shells and snails); Colombia (emeralds and amber) to the north; with Chile (blue stone) to the south, and seeds of gold extracted in the basin from the Marañón River to the east.
Their funerary practices were given by their great organization and distribution of mortuary offerings that include tombs in vertical wells of 20 m. depth.
When skeletal remains are found, and the victim remains unidentified after traditional means of identification fail, investigators may call upon the forensic artist to utilize the three-dimensional facial reconstruction technique. The three-dimensional process is initiated by placing the skull on a workable stand, where the skull can easily be tilted and turned in all directions. The skull must be positioned in the Frankfort Horizontal position. By utilizing proper tissue depth data determined by race, gender, and age. Artificial eyes are placed in the skull’s eye sockets, centered and at the proper depth. The tissue markers are glued directly onto the skull. Clay will be systematically applied directly on the skull, following the skull's contours; paying strict attention to the applied tissue markers. Various measurements are made, and logged, to determine nose thickness/length, mouth thickness/width, and eye placement. Information such as geographic location of where the deceased lived, his or her lifestyle, and the various information provided to the artist by the Forensic Anthropologist and other professionals, is heavily relied upon when completing the reconstruction. Hair is accomplished by means of a wig, or by applying clay to represent hair. Various items (props), such as glasses, clothing, hats, etc. may be applied to better accentuate the features of the individual. Upon completion, the sculpture is photographed. All procedures are documented and working notes collected. When executed properly, this technique is proven to have a high success rate.