Face of Ancient Queen Revealed for First Time


Some 1,200 years ago, a wealthy noblewoman, at least 60 years old, was laid to rest in Peru—richly provisioned for eternity with jewelry, flasks, and weaving tools made of gold.

Now, more than five years after her tomb was found untouched outside of the coastal town of Huarmey, scientists have reconstructed what she may have looked like.

“When I first saw the reconstruction, I saw some of my indigenous friends from Huarmey in this face,” says National Geographic grantee Miłosz Giersz, the archaeologist who co-discovered the noblewoman’s tomb. “Her genes are still in the place.”

In 2012, Giersz and Peruvian archaeologist Roberto Pimentel Nita discovered the tomb El Castillo de Huarmey. The hillside site was once a large temple complex for the Wari culture, which dominated the region centuries before the more famous Inca. Read more.