/ Explores the Complex / Madam of CAO / History of discovery

THE FUNERARY CONTEXT OF THE LADY OF CAO

The tomb of the Lady of Cao is the first evidence of the burial of a female biological character of the Moche elite inside a temple of the same era. Anthropological studies allowed us to know that this woman, 1.48 meters tall, died when she was approximately 25 years old. The analyzes indicate that she suffered from an abscess in the wisdom tooth, that her death occurred in a postpartum stage, apparently due to eclampsia, and that her body was washed with seawater. Also, the hair-study allowed us to know that she consumed corn grains and marine products.

In addition to Tomb 3 which contained the bale of the Lady of Cao, four associated graves were found, containing at least six characters. In Tomb 1 an elite character named “Chief Priest” due to the inside ornaments of his bundle, was found. This was accompanied by a teenage individual dead by strangulation. Tombs 2 and 4 contained two male characters without major materials and offerings. Tomb 5 presented bone material from various individuals.

All these graves are located at the foot of the south wall of the Ceremonial Site and the west wall of the Corner Site, both profusely decorated by schematic representations of Pez Life (Fish Life) and Animales Lunares (Lunar Animales – rampant felines), respectively.

ROLES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE LADY OF CAO

THE CEREMONIAL ENVIRONMENT

It is a typically Moche ceremonial enclosure, from the early period according to the art displayed in it. It has finely decorated walls with typical images of the time, highlighting schematic representations of the sea and river fishes, analogous to the images of the patio below the “Patio de los Frisos Marinos”. Like every Mochica open space, it has a corner enclosure in whose walls were portrayed the most notable images: anthropomorphic beings with feline features accompanied by condors and snakes, the so-called “lunar animal”, and stepped waves.