Ancient Peru Sipán Archaeological Complex

In 1987 the archaeologist Walter Alva discovered the tomb of one of the most powerful men of ancient Peru: the Lord of Sipán, who was one of the rulers of the Moche, or Mochica, a culture that dominated the northern coast between 100 and 800 A.D. and built adobe pyramids decorated with colorful murals—some of which are still in an excellent state of preservation.

The Lord of Sipán was covered in impressive ornaments of gold, silver, turquoise, and spondylus (a type of mollusk). Also found in the tomb were skeletal remains of women, children, and animals sacrificed and buried to accompany him to the afterlife. The discovery drew worldwide attention, as it was the first tomb of an ancient Peruvian ruler to be recovered intact.

The Sipán Archaeological Complex, also known as the “Huaca Rajada,” or “Split Tomb,” features a on-site museum that houses the artifacts found within the tomb itself. Additionally, the Sipán Museum of Royal Tombs in nearby Lambayeque exhibits the skeletal remains, jewelry, and ceramics, among other archaeological finds from the tomb.

General Information

Location: 35 km (22 miles) from Chiclayo, Lambayeque District.

Climate: warm.

Average temperature: with an average annual temperature of 20 °C (68 °F). During the summer the temperature may exceed 30 °C (86 °F); during winter it may drop to as low as 15 °C (59 °F).

Season: Year-round.

Access by Land: 40 minutes by bus from Chiclayo toward Huaca Rajada; to the city of Lambayeque, 10 minutes from Chiclayo toward the Sipán Museum of Royal Tombs.

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