|About the Book|
This is the critically acclaimed Raiders of the Lost Art true story of the looting, recovery and excavation of priceless art and artifacts from the tombs of Sipan, on the north coast of Peru.Written by award-winning New York Times best-sellingMoreThis is the critically acclaimed Raiders of the Lost Art true story of the looting, recovery and excavation of priceless art and artifacts from the tombs of Sipan, on the north coast of Peru.Written by award-winning New York Times best-selling author Sidney D. Kirkpatrick, Lords of Sipan has all the elements of great fiction: Priceless antiquities entombed in an ancient pyramid- sinister looters- slick black-market smugglers- and a brilliant and dedicated archaeologist who risks his life to restore the treasures to their native country. But for all its heroics and its compelling plot, the real dramatic twist is that this story is true. Not since Howard Carter excavated Tutankhamuns tomb has an archaeological narrative been so engaging and rich with suspense and intrigue.Tracking a crime trail across three continents, Kirkpatrick meticulously researched one mans struggle to excavate and protect the greatest archaeological discovery ever made in the Western Hemisphere.For more than a millennium, tons of rock and brick had preserved priceless treasure of an ancient Peruvian civilization known as the Moche. Deep in a pyramid at Sipan, hidden in a long-lost tomb of a pre-Incan Moche Lord, were golden masks, jeweled artifacts, and invaluable remnants of a mysterious, vanished civilization.Looters were picking up seemingly insignificant gold beads when the leader stumbled into a kings ransom of artifacts. Within hours, most of it was headed for the black market—and out of the country.Dr. Walter Alva, noted Peruvian archaeologist and museum curator, was soon racing against time to halt the exodus of the antiquities and to prevent further looting. Police and U.S. Customs agents, employing secret informants and antiquities experts, began an undercover investigation that sent shock waves through the international art world, culminating in:*the most comprehensive seizure of pre-Columbian antiquities in U.S. history,*the conviction of David Swetnam, the first man in the U.S. sent to prison for smuggling pre-Columbian art,*an important precedent regarding the private ownership of national treasures.In the kind of chase usually reserved for fictional crime thrillers, customs agents traced the artifacts to England and the U.S., and then reeled in the smugglers. Ironically, research for Lords of Sipan found Kirkpatrick virtually in his own backyard. Unscrupulous antiquities dealers had smuggled the plundered treasures out of Peru and into Los Angeles and Santa Barbara museums and the collections of Kirkpatricks Hollywood neighbors.Experts had long speculated about the existence of a Moche tomb and treasure hunters had spend centuries searching for it without success. But the initial find was only the first piece of the puzzle.Dr. Alva, working at the ransacked site at Sipan, was stunned to discover that the pyramid was not merely the burial place of a single monarch. Instead, the site was a New World version of Egypts Valley of the Kings outside Thebes: a necropolis for many lords of the Moche kingdom. At least three tombs remained intact, and the discovery lured armed thieves once again.In the midst of escalating tension, Dr. Alva and his excavators put down their shovels and picked up their guns. Putting their lives on the line to protect the remaining treasures from armed thieves and assassins, they confronted the looters and won their support.Like Kirkpatricks other critically acclaimed true-crime thrillers, A Cast of Killers, and Turning The Tide, Lords of Sipan is the painstakingly reconstructed account of a bizarre, true-to-life case.