See One of the Largest, Oldest Golden Headdresses Ever Discovered at NatGeo’s “Peruvian Gold”

“National Geographic has been sharing the stories and the archaeology of ancient Peru for more than 100 years,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of National Geographic Exhibitions. “This exhibition is an opportunity to walk into the pages of National Geographic magazine and see unique treasures from Peru’s golden past.”Peruvian Gold_140410_160

Now until Sept. 2, 2014, the National Geographic Museum will be home to “Peruvian Gold: Ancient Treasures Unearthed,” a remarkable collection of ancient gold and silver artifacts excavated from Peru’s legendary royal tombs.  Almost two thirds of these featured artifacts have never before been seen in the United States, including El Tocado — the centerpiece of the exhibition — the largest and most ornate pre-Columbian headdress ever discovered, which dates from the Middle Sican period (A.D. 900-1100), and was unearthed in 1991.

Guest curated by National Geographic’s Archaeology Fellow Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, “Peruvian Gold” showcases extraordinary objects from Peru’s pre-Inca heritage, allowing visitors an up close and personal view of the stunning ancient craftsmanship in gold ceremonial and funerary masks, textiles, ceremonial ornaments, ceramics and jewelry.  (Don’t miss the nose rings… Peruvian Gold_140410_119and that beaded “ultimate statement necklace!”) The exhibit also explains how the artifacts reflect the customs and beliefs of the culture that created and used them.

Guided tours of the “Peruvian Gold” exhibition will take place each Monday at 11 am, and a pottery-themed “drop-in activity” geared for kids ages 5-12 and their families will be offered every day at 2 pm. (The activity involves learning how ceramics are made and learning why pottery is significant to archaeology by creating one’s own Peruvian pinch pot.)

*All photos credit Rebecca Hale/National Geographic