Polish and Peruvian archaeologists have discovered a royal burial chamber with 60 mummies and some 1,200 gold, silver and ceramic objects from over 1,000 years ago in Peru.
The mummies—including three princesses—and other items date back to a pre-Inca culture called the Wari, who peaked between the seventh and 11th centuries, researchers said.
"This is a unique find," said archaeologist Giersz Milosz of the University of Warsaw on Friday. "This is the first Peruvian discovery of a royal tomb from the Wari culture," of which little is known.
The find, in an area known as El Castillo, about 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Lima, follows two earlier finds by the Polish and Peruvian team in 2010.
The chamber was discovered two meters (six feet) underground and covered with 33 tonnes of gravel. The tombs of the princesses—apparently wives of Wari chiefs—were at one end of the 17 square meter (190 square foot) chamber.
Most of the mummies were women, buried in an upright position, a sign of rank, according to the researchers.
They were adorned in silver and gold jewelry, and buried with ceramic vessels and baskets filled with more jewelry.
Archaeologist also found pots, pitchers, carved stone objects, ceremonial knives and other objects in good condition and of great cultural value, said researcher Patrycja Przadka-Giersz, wife of Giersz.
Explore further: Archaeologist begins dig in the Sudan, Nile River Valley area