An aerial view shows both rooms of a unique double-chambered tomb found at the Moche site of San Jose de Moro in Peru. Excavations of the tomb in 2009 have so far yielded llama
bones, clay bowls, and an elite Moche male inside a decorated wooden coffin.
Excavation leader Castillo Butters thinks the male ruled alongside the Moche's more famous priestesses, which would support his view that the pre-Inca society was jointly controlled by men and women. But anthropologist Steve Bourget
, of the University of Texas at Austin, suspects the male was not actually the tomb's primary resident.
For example, the coffin was found against one wall of what could be seen as an unusually empty chamber. It's possible some of the tomb's inhabitants were taken away and the chamber later sealed up during the Moche's time, according to Bourget.
"Maybe what you had in there was one of these so-called priestesses along with other people, and then they didn't remove that guy," he said.
Photograph courtesy Luis Jaime Castillo Butters