Precious ornaments from the Museum Royal Tombs of Sipán were analyzed by X-ray computed microtomography (microCT). The ornaments analyzed were golden earrings produced by the Moche culture that flourished along the north coast of present-day Peru between approximately 100 and 600 AD. Sipán, also known as Huava Rajada, is a mochica archaeological complex in the north of Peru. In particular, the spectacular jewelry, mainly composed of gold, silver, and copper alloys, gilded copper, and tumbaga, from the Museum Royal Tombs of Sipán, in Lambayeque, north of Peru, are some of the most sophisticated metalworking ever produced of pre-Columbian America. A portable microCT system consisting of a high-resolution flat panel detector and a mini X-ray tube were used for the structural analysis of these ornaments. The microCT images show parts of the internal structure, highlighting the manufacturing technique and gold sheets joining techniques of the Moche artisans. Furthermore, the advantage of using the portable microCT system for nondestructive testing is clear when the sample cannot be taken to the laboratory.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, CNPq, (process no. 159285/2018-6, Brazil) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ). Dr. Walter Alva, discoverer of the Tombs of Sipán and Director of the Museum Royal Tombs of Sipán, was acknowledged for his kind cooperation.
- pre-Columbian civilization