A gold monkey-head pendant has been returned to Peru thanks to the intervention of the country’s ambassador Luis Valdivieso. The artefact, which had been housed by the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, was made by the Moche people. Renowned for their elaborate gold work, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru in the period AD 100-800.

The monkey’s head is actually a large bead, with a ball inside that rattles when the pendant moves, and has turquoise and shell eyes, a lapis nose, and a turquoise tongue. Experts believe it was stolen from the archaeological site in the Sipán region of Peru.

History Museum Director Dr Francis Levine said: ‘Museums have changed how they regard artefacts from prehistoric peoples. Objects from South America can be better used to help museums in Peru tell the stories of their people.’


This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 51. Click here to subscribe

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