Workers brush the remains of a coastal pyramid site called El Castillo de Huarmey, 185 miles (299 km) north of Lima, June 27, 2013. Reuters

A royal tomb, older than the Inca civilization, and filled with treasures and mummified women dating back to about 1,200 years, has been found in Peru. This is the first such tomb belonging to South America’s Wari civilization found untouched by vandals, the National Geographic said.

This discovery of the tomb in El Castillo de Huarmey, north of Peru’s capital city of Lima, by a team of archaeologists headed by Milosz Giersz, is expected to shed light on the Wari empire, which spread across a good portion of present-day Peru.

“We know little about this culture and this discovery is the first one which brings us so much information about the funerary practices of the highest-ranking elite and the role of the woman in pre-Hispanic times,” Giersz told the Los Angeles Times.

The Waris, according to reports, have generally been overshadowed by the Inca civilization, whose achievements have been extensively documented. The Waris are believed to have ruled the coastal regions of modern-day Peru between 500 AD and 1000 AD.

The tomb, the entrance to which was first unearthed back in September, housed nearly 63 skeletons, including three Wari queens, who were buried with gold and silver jewelry. The mummified women were placed in an upright position, indicating royalty.

Six of the bodies were placed on top of other bodies in a strange pattern, indicating they were used for human sacrifices, forensic archaeologist Wieslaw Wieckowski told BBC.

"The fact that most of the skeletons were of women and the very rich grave goods, leads us to the interpretation that this was a tomb of the royal elite and that also changes our point of view on the position of the women in the Wari culture," Wieckowski said.