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Inca tomb discovery turns up archeological trove

Pre-Inca lord are shown at the National Institute of Culture, INC, in Cuzco, Peru, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011 Associated Press

It's being celebrated as the most important archeological finding in Peru since the rediscovery of Machu Picchu more than a century ago. Peru's government this week released details of the discovery of nine tombs dating back to the pre-Hispanic Wari civilization that existed in the country's Andes region near the city of Cusco.

Between the year 500 CE and 900 CE, the Waris inhabited the south-central Andes and coastal areas of what's now Peru.

"This is a story of great significance for the cultural heritage of our country," Peru's Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries, Bernardo Roca-Rey.

A team of archaeologists made the discovery in Vilcabamba, in Peru's Cuzco state. Among the findings: a Wari noble who was buried with a silver breastplate. The team nicknamed him `The Lord of Vilca' after the Lord of Sipan, which was a third century mummy discovered in the north of the country in 1987.

Gold and silver pieces of a pre-Inca lord are shown at the National Institute of Culture, INC, in Cuzco, Peru, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Associated Press