A Life Story

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2016

(© Zona Arqueológica Caral)

Peruvian archaeologists have found the 4,600-year-old remains of a woman decked out in finery, including a shell necklace, bone brooches, and blankets made of cotton and woven reeds. The bones were discovered at Áspero, a major site of the north-coast Caral civilization, the oldest known urban society in the Americas, which dates to four millennia before the Inca. “We can interpret that, some 4,600 years before the present, women had already reached significant positions in society,” says archaeologist Ruth Shady Solís. The brooches in particular, carved into bird and monkey designs, point to “a woman of prestige.” The necklace’s shells must have been brought from Peru’s far north coast and the Amazon lowlands, both hundreds of miles away, further proof of her high status. Despite the fancy accessories, the woman, who was between 40 and 50 years old when she died, saw trauma in life. She had three major bone fractures, likely caused by a fall, and a skull deformation.


Letter from Nigeria

July/August 2024

A West African Kingdom's Roots

Excavations in Benin City reveal a renowned realm’s deep history

Artifacts July/August 2024

Etruscan Oil Lamp

Read Article
Etruscan Hanging Oil Lamp
(Courtesy Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona; © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)

Around the World July/August 2024


Read Article
(Phillip Parton/ANU)

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2024

Bronze Age Beads Go Abroad

Read Article

Features July/August 2024

The Assyrian Renaissance

Archaeologists return to Nineveh in northern Iraq, one of the ancient world’s grandest imperial capitals

Read Article
(Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project)