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Last Updated: Wednesday May 17 2006 09:28 GMT

Mummy with tattoos found in Peru

The mummy being examined by experts
Archaeologists in Peru have discovered a mummy with tattoos of magic religious figures, snakes and spiders.

The woman has been described as one of the best-ever preserved mummies from an ancient tribe called the Moche, which died out more than 1,300 years ago.

Experts had thought that only men were leaders in the Moche tribe but the tattoos suggest the woman could have been an important person or warrior.

The mummy, thought to date from 450AD, was found with war clubs and jewels.

The fact the woman was buried with these items is more evidence that she was important. She is thought to have been about 30 when she died.

The mummy was discovered by archaeologists from Peru and the US at a site called El Brujo - meaning The Wizard - on the north coast of the country.

El Brujo is thought to be a very sacred area and many people still travel there to perform religious rituals.

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