Feathered headdress, tabard found in Huanchaco

After the discovery of more sacrificed children, this season’s excavation of Pampa La Cruz still held one last surprise for archaeologists. On the last day of the dig, the team unearthed the remains of a Chimu man buried with an elaborate feathered garment and headdress.

The garment is a tabard, similar to a poncho, and is 1.1 meters (3’7″) long. It is adorned with red and yellow feathers but they are in poor condition. The feathers on the headdress are comparatively well-preserved. They are blue, white, green, black and yellow, the colors still distinct. The coverage is thick, unlike on the tabard where only scattered feathers have survived.

“We need to conduct studies to identify the type of birds from which such feathers were taken and the manufacturing technique, and because we think a black resin —a popular product in the country’s rainforest nowadays— was used to secure the threads and ropes of the headdress,” [Huanchaco Archaeological Project head Gabriel Prieto] noted.

The skeleton was found in a squatting position, similar to a skeleton found in an earlier excavation which was also interred with a feather headdress and tabard. The feathers were of different colors in the two burials, and the previous find was unearthed in the upper part of the huaca while the new find was in the lower part. Archaeologists believed the upper part of the sacred site was used for burials of the Chimu elite, and the feathered pieces would have been extremely expensive adornments reserved for the elite. That means there was no strict class division in the huaca burials.