The 1,000-year-old surgeon’s tomb in Peru contained various knives and needles and was buried in the lotus flower position.
The remains of a person who served as a surgeon during the Middle Sican period (900-1050 AD) were found by experts in the southern necropolis at the Huaca Las Ventanas Mausoleum Temple.
Archaeologists have discovered that a tomb excavated in the southern necropolis at the Huaca Las Ventanas Mausoleum Temple in the Lambayeque region of Peru contains the remains of a surgeon who served as a surgeon during the Sican Culture period.
The Sican culture, also called the Lambayeque culture, lived on the northern coast of what is now Peru between 750 AD and 1375 AD, after the collapse of the Moche culture (some scholars debate whether the two were separate cultures). The remains of the surgeon in Tomb 77 are the first such discovery in the northern part of the country.
Based on cultural changes and different pottery production, Sican culture is divided into three main periods: Early Sican (700 to 900 AD), Middle Sican (900 to 1100 AD), and Late Sican (1100 to 1375 AD).
The tomb 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 the surrounding soil were removed and placed in storage for preservation.
Thanks to funding from the National Geographic Fund, the remains were finally studied in late 2021, revealing an individual from the Middle Sican period around 900-1050 AD. The researchers suggest that, depending on the type of objects in the tomb, the individual likely served as a surgeon.
Carlos Elera, Director of the Sican National Museum, says the discovery was made as part of archaeological research that was initiated in the southern necropolis of Huaca Las Ventanas between 2010 and 2011.
“The finds also included gilded copper bowls and a tumi (ceremonial knife),” said the Director of the Sican National Museum. The most interesting thing was the set of awls, needles and knives, with a sharp edge on one side and a blunt edge on the other; they vary in size and some have wooden handles.”
“This person was an expert in cranial trepanations, and his surgical tools were geared towards all things human skull surgery.” In ancient Peru, cranial trepanation was common practice as a surgical procedure to remove hematomas or fragments of skull bones that had probably been broken during combative conflicts.
The finds also include a gold mask painted with cinnabar, a large bronze breastplate and a suit with copper plates.
According to the museum director, under the poncho was a double-mouthed pot with a bridge handle on which a figure representing Huaco Rey (King Huaco) was placed.