The Lady of Cao
The Lady of Cao belonged to the Moche culture in northern Peru Reuters

A replica of an ancient powerful female leader named the Lady of Cao has been revealed in Peru after her face was reconstructed by scientists using 3D printing.

It was unveiled by culture officials and archaeologists on Monday (3 July) with the aim of showcasing Peru's best archaeological finds and to remind Peruvians of their rich cultural heritage to the world, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"Its relevance is really incalculable. We can now show the world her face, a face that Peruvians see ourselves in," Culture Minister Salvador del Solar said during the inauguration ceremony, explaining the lady's oval face with high cheekbones.

"We are privileged to announce this strange combination of the future and the past: technology has allowed us to see the face of a political and religious leader from a culture from the past," he added.

According to reports, the skull of the powerful leader – who belonged to the Moche culture in northern Peru and died some 1,700 years ago – was found at a mud-brick ruined pyramid known as Huaca Cao Viejo near the city of Trujillo in 2006.

Since the remains were well-preserved, scientists were able to replicate her face after analysing the structure, the BBC reported.

Along with her remains, the discovery team had also found a number of weapons, including two massive war clubs and 23 spear throwers.

They said the Lady of Cao was not buried like a commoner; she was buried with a crown, gold and copper items, which challenged the belief that the ancient Moche society was dominated by men.

Her rich burial also suggested that she might have been a priestess or even a political ruler, whose feet, legs and face were tattooed with symbols of serpents and spiders.

"The Lady of Cao discovery showed the political and religious role of females in the rich culture of northern Peru, while the current event presents a combination between the future and past [...]," Solar said.