Peruvian archaeologists have discovered the remains of three ancient elites believed to have been buried more than 1,600 years ago in northern Peru.
The remains are of an adolescent believed to be male who was about 13-years-old, a woman, and a man who still remains largely underground.
The three are thought to belong to the Mochica community which ruled the northern coast of Peru from the time of Christ to the eighth century A.D.
The adolescent, buried in a coffin made of cane, was surrounded by vessels and offerings including peanut remains and figures representing peanuts as well as copper offerings.
In the ancient culture small nuts represented life after death, according to the archaeologists.
The historically significant find was discovered by Peru's Walter Alva who had previously discovered the tomb of the Great Lord of Sipan.
Surprisingly, the remains of the new finds were found on the same funeral platform as Sipan just 20 metres away and only 10 metres from a previously known priest also on the same platform.
"We are excavating in the same platform on the same royal mausoleum of the Lord of Sipan where they [the Mochicas] buried all the high ranking people from lords to priests and of course people in the noble Mochica families. This tomb is located 20 metres from the tomb of the Lord of Sipan and just 10 meters from the tomb of a priest. They belong to a time slightly before that of the Lord of Sipan," Alva said.
According to Alva the fact that the new remains were discovered on the same platform is extremely important because it will help archaeologists construct a type of timeline to better understand the hierarchy of the culture.
Alva concluded that there is still work to be done and they most finish the excavation before many questions can be answered.
"That is to say up until now, there are three coffins made of cane. The first belongs to an adolescent 13-years-old, more or less, with some pots and offerings some of which represent peanuts. The second person appears to be a woman as far as we can see. We are investigating this. And the third person, whom we have yet to touch, we can see is in a coffin covered in copper and golden copper," he said.
Sipan's discovery in 1987 is one of the most significant finds in the area and the recent finds are believed to outdate him adding to their importance in understanding the hierarchy of the ancient culture