LIMA – The remains of a witch doctor who lived 800 years ago in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayeque and who was buried with 500 seeds believed to have aphrodisiac properties were found by archaeologists in La Pava de Mochumi, the local press said on Saturday.
The individual not only performed cures but also spoke with the gods as was the shaman’s role in the Mochica and Lambayeque cultures, the director of the La Pava de Mochumi archaeological complex, Marco Fernandez, told the daily El Comercio.
The ceramic vessel containing 500 nectarine seeds was the first clue to finding the remains of the witch doctor from the pre-Incan Lambayeque culture, buried near the valley of the Tucume Pyramids.
Archaeologists also found a Peruvian scallop shell for inhaling tobacco, gourds for drinking mate, pieces of textiles, a globular jug and a wooden cane.
Fernandez said that they found the remains of another individual from the same culture, which flourished about 800 to 900 years ago, buried with objects that identify him as a middle-ranked official.
Together with the latter were found ceremonial knives of copper gilt, fragments of quartz and seven ceramics.
Meanwhile the director of Lambayeque’s Bruning Museum, Carlos Wester, said that the burials discovered, both of the medicine man and the official, were evidence of intense cultural, artistic, technological and ritual activity in the Mochumi area.
The Peruvian government has set aside more than 1½ million sols ($500,000) for archaeological research at Lambayeque, one of the regions where important pre-Inca cultures such as the Mochica, Chimu and Lambayeque arose.