On the north coast of present-day Peru flourished approximately between 50 and 700 AD, the Moche civilization. It was an advanced culture and the Moche were sophisticated metalsmiths, so that they are considered as the finest producers of jewels and artefacts of the region. The Moche metalworking ability was impressively demonstrated by the objects discovered by Walter Alva and coworkers in 1987, in the excavations of the "Tumbas Reales de Sipán". About 50 metal objects from these excavations, now at the namesake Museum, in Lambayeque, north of Peru, were analyzed with a portable equipment using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence. This portable equipment is mainly composed of a small size X-ray tube and a thermoelectrically cooled X-ray detector. Standard samples of gold and silver alloys were employed for quantitative analysis. It was determined that the analyzed artefacts from the "Tumbas Reales de Sipán" are mainly composed of gold, silver and copper alloys, of gilded copper and of tumbaga, the last being a poor gold alloy enriched at the surface by depletion gilding, i.e. removing copper from the surface. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.