Harvard University to conduct DNA study on Lady of Cao

Alvaro Tassano

The study of the 1,600-year-old mummy will help shed a light on the importance of the archaeological site El Brujo

Harvard University to conduct DNA study on Lady of Cao

(Photo: Facebook/Andina)

Archaeologist Regulo Franco Jordán announced that specialists from Harvard University began conducting a DNA study of the Lady of Cao, a woman considered by many as the first ruler of Pre-Columbian America. The investigation will also include the 6 occupants who were buried with her.

The Lady of Cao is a name given to a female Moche mummy discovered at the archaeological site El Brujo, an Archaeological Complex, just north of Trujillo.

Visiting El Brujo and the Dama de Cao

With the DNA study researchers want to determine if the woman is directly linked to the chief priest, secondary priest, sacrificed maidens and a guardian who were also found within the tomb.

“The samples are already in the US and specialists there are processing the information and we will get the results in 2017. Before DNA testing was only able to identify the mother, now with the advancement of technology, the study can focus on defining the paternal line, which is more complete,” said Regulo Franco, archaeologist in charge of the ancient site El Brujo.

On the other hand, it was reported that the Wiese Foundation is expected to sign an agreement with Harvard University allowing them to conduct research over the next five years. The prestigious university will seek financing with National Geographic for future field research, which will target several dig sites, Franco explained.

Among the targeted sites is the temple Cupisnique, which remains partially buried after the initial excavation in 1947. These investigations will help shed light on whether El Brujo was an important ceremonial structure or a temple.

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