Lady Cao – Moche Queen Who Re-Wrote Ancient History

Lady Cao was not just one of many mummies archaeologists have unearthed in various parts of the world. Discoveries of her remains re-wrote ancient history and gave us a much better understanding of the Moche culture.

Examinations of the ancient mummy revealed Lady Cao was in her mid-twenties when she died about 450 CE. The cause of her death was most likely complications due to pregnancy or childbirth.This royal tomb, the eighth discovered in 25 years, is believed to have belonged to a Moche priestess buried 1,200 years ago. The great number of artifacts and the complexity of the burial reveal the power and influence this woman wielded in life. Courtesy of Luis Castillo

Her burial site contained valuable artifacts and weapons. It soon obvious that Lady Cao was a woman of great importance. Lady Cao was buried with valuable metal items and wooden scepters wrapped in copper that symbolized the power she wielded when she was alive.


Today, most scientists think that Lady Cao could have been a priestess or even a Moche ruler who has governed in the Chicama Valley.

Until recently, it was believed that the Moche had been as a society ruled by male warriors, but this assumption turned out to be completely wrong.The discovery of Lady Cao showed that women held a high rank in the Moche culture. The Moche civilization had no written language and the silent remains of Lady Cao spoke to us, revealing what her society really was like.

Sometimes it’s enough with just one discovery to re-write our history books.

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