Originally published 06/28/2013
It was a stunning discovery: the first unlooted imperial tomb of the Wari, the ancient civilization that built South America's earliest empire between 700 and 1000 A.D. Yet it wasn't happiness that Milosz Giersz felt when he first glimpsed gold in the dim recesses of the burial chamber in northern Peru.Giersz, an archaeologist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, realized at once that if word leaked out that his Polish-Peruvian team had discovered a 1,200-year-old "temple of the dead" filled with precious gold and silver artifacts, looters would descend on the site in droves. "I had a nightmare about the possibility," says Giersz.
Originally published 05/03/2013
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Preservationists working on a Renaissance fresco in the Vatican have uncovered what experts believe is the first European representation of Native Americans, from 1494.Writing on April 27 in the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the director of the Vatican Museum, Antonio Paolucci, said the previously unnoticed detail was discovered in a Resurrection scene painted by the Renaissance master Pinturicchio.Covered by centuries of soot, the restoration of the painting revealed a small depiction of naked men with feathered headdresses who appear to be dancing. A man on horseback is also visible....