Old Gold

The Sicán civilization of ancient Peru eluded archaeologists and historians for a long time. The Sicán, now recognized as skilled metallurgists, ceramicists, seafarers, and traders, flourished on the northern coast of Peru from 800 to 1375. Until recently, however, the majority of the archaeological and anthropological knowledge concerning ancient Peruvian cultures focused on the Incas, whose civilization followed the Sicán by nearly 100 years. Excessive looting of ancient tombs found on the northern coast of Peru contributed to the lack of knowledge. Any looted items from that area that turned up in museums or private collections lacked documentation or provenance and often were misidentified. The work of Southern Illinois University's Dr. Izumi Shimada (formerly of Harvard University's Peabody Museum) finally shed light on this mysterious culture dubbed the Sicán. In 1978, Shim
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