After 3 years of digging, a U.S. team of archaeologists has unearthed the tombs of three noblemen from a pre-Incan race of giants. The noblemen were all exceptionally tall for that time, standing about 6 feet tall, compared with the typical peasant stature of less than 5 feet. Alan Cordy-Collins, of the University of San Diego, says that they may have suffered from Marfans syndrome, an inherited form of gigantism.

The pyramid containing the tombs was filled with exquisite metalwork and ceramics, including a solid gold nose ornament shaped like a bat. Images of bats adorn the walls of the richest tomb. They are shown in scenes of humansacrifice, drinking blood. A ceramic bat sculpture decorated with gilded bats was also found in the tomb. “I’m not a collector, but some of their items are of mouth-watering quality,” says Steve Bourget of the University of Texas.

“We’ve found an absolutely unique site,” says Christopher Donnan of the University of California. His team began digging in the west side of the 105 foot tall, mud-brick, Dos Cabezas pyramid in 1997. The tombs inside were from the Moche culture, who lived in Peru from 100 to 800 AD.

These tombs have never been looted, unlike 99% of Moche burial sites. “These tombs are just as important for the Moche as Tutankhamen’s (King Tut’s tomb) was for the Egyptians,” says Bourget.

The bodies were found wrapped in cloth and adorned with gold-plated shields and clubs. Many weapons were found in the tombs. All three men died young, at about age 20, perhaps as a result of battle or some sort of epidemic.

One of the noblemen was buried with the body of a young woman, as well as the body of a llama, beside him. “The most memorable moment was when we uncovered the burial mask,” says Donnan. This cold and copper mask “was almost life size.” The nobleman’s face was covered by a large, upside-down copper bowl, with the mask beneath it. Five gold objects were found in his mouth.

Small models of the tombs were attached to each of the three chambers. “Miniature burial chambers that mimic real ones are not known from other Moche sites, so they provide additional insights to the enormous attention given to preparing these individuals for the afterlife,” says Anita Cook of the Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

The Moche had a sophisticated culture. They farmed and kept animals, built huge pyramids out of sun-dried mud bricks, and diverted rivers, through a network of canals and reservoirs, in order to irrigate their crops. Their blood-letting rituals are reminiscent of the Mayans of Mexico and Guatemala.

Author and frequent Dreamland guestWilliam Henry, has speculated that in the past, conquerors from more technologically advanced races may have become legendary figures in more] simple societies, and even been thought of as gods. In “Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts” (The Sourcebook Project, 1978), William R. Corliss describes several races of giants that lived long ago.

Corliss reports that a large Indian mound in Pennsylvania was excavated in 1885 by scientists from the Smithsonian Institute. They found the skeleton of a giant who was 7 feet 2 inches tall, with waist length black hair, wearing a copper crown.

In 1936, Dr. Alex Hrklicka of the Smithsonian discovered an ancient skull in Alaska, with a brain capacity nearly twice that of a modern human. In “Return of the Giants,” Barry Chamish, who was on Dreamland February 4, talks about a race of giants whose remains were found in Israel, and speculates that they may be related to the giants written about in the Bible.

Whoever these giants were, no matter where they came from, it’s clear they were held in awe and reverence by the population around them.

For the story from the Scotsman, click hereUSA Today also has an excellent article.For the International Herald Tribune’s in-depth coverage, click here.

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