To archaeologists, the Lord of Sipan was a Moche noble now known as the “King Tut of Peru.” To centuries of Peruvian grave robbers (huaqueros), he was one grave they wished they’d found. To visitors traveling to the town of Chiclayo, he is the reason why you can walk through a room that is dripping in jewels and gold. Of all the museums you can visit in Chiclayo, the Royal Tombs Museum of Sipan is one that you absolutely must see.
Buried in a tomb beneath the desert sands to the south of modern day Chiclayo, the Lord of Sipan lay undisturbed for over 1,700 years. In 1987, however, a team of archaeologists unearthed a tomb at the remote Huaca Rajada, and what they found inside is considered to be one of the greatest finds of the last 50 years. Lying inside a wooded sarcophagus were the remains of a king, a warrior, three concubines, two dogs, a llama, a priest and a guard with no feet. Also, there were jewels—lots of gold and jewels.
Today the tomb site and many of its findings are on display at the Royal Tombs Museum of Sipan, a building with a strikingly modern appearance that is modeled after the Moche pyramids. Gaze at headdresses and armored plates made entirely from silver and gold while inwardly contemplating how such valuable pieces remained buried and hidden for so long.
The Royal Tombs Museum of Sipan is a 10-minute drive from the center of Chiclayo in the town of Lambayeque. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There is an admission fee of 15 Nuevo Soles ($4), and no photography is allowed.