In 2005 archaeologists working at the site of El Brujo on the north coast of Peru uncovered an intriguing bundle of cloth. It had been buried in an ornately painted funerary complex of adobe in about A.D. 400. Inside lay the naturally mummified body of a young female aristocrat from the Moche culture, which flourished in that region a thousand years before the Inca. Experts have now recreated the woman’s features using techniques normally employed to solve crimes.
The mummy is known locally as the Señora of Cao, named after a nearby town, Magdalena de Cao. She’s currently on display in a museum at El Brujo, but she’s hard to see. To help preserve her, she’s kept in a climate-controlled chamber. Visitors can look in through a window, but they don’t view the mummy directly—they only get a glimpse in a deftly angled mirror.
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