National Geographic : 2014 Jun
76 national geographic • June 2014 size and shape of a shoe box. Made of cut canes, it stored all the weaving tools needed to create high-quality cloth. Wari women were consum- mate weavers, producing tapestry-like cloth with yarn counts higher than those of the famous Flemish and Dutch weavers of the 16th centu- ry. The noblewomen buried at El Castillo were clearly dedicated to this art, creating textiles of the finest quality for the Wari elite. When the chamber was ready for sealing, attendants brought the last offerings up the slopes of El Castillo: human sacrifices. There were six individuals in all, three children—including what might be a nine-year-old girl—and three young adults. It’s possible, says Więckowski, the victims were the offspring of the conquered nobility. “If you are the ruler and want people to prove their loyalty to the lineage, you take their children,” he says. When the killings were done, atten- dants threw the corpses into the tomb. Then they closed the chamber, placing the wrapped corpses of a young adult male in his prime and of an older woman at the entrance as guards. Each body had lost a left foot, perhaps ensuring In a modern cemetery near El Castillo a looter displays a plundered textile for prospective customers. The tomb at El Castillo is now closely guarded.