Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chauchilla Necropolis, Nazca Peru

For those who likes bones, skulls and the dead, the word 'Necropolis' would have jumped out at you. My initial understanding of the word is a 'city of the dead', but modern usage usually refers to it as a big ancient cemetery. And the Necropolis de Chauchilla is that, an ancient cemetery.

Situated just 30km south of Nazca Peru, Chauchilla Cemetery is certainly overshadowed by the Nazca lines as a tourist attraction. When we were there, there were only 1 other tourist group. But I found it quite fascinating.

While I have seen skulls & mummies before, most of the time, they are exhibited and protected behind glass under a controlled environment. Here in Chauchilla, they are all placed in a pit which was just surrounded by a simple barrier. A makeshift overhead shelter made up of dried branches complete the "exhibition pavilion". All the mummies are exposed to the environment, but it is exactly the dry climate of the Peruvian desert that had contributed to the amazing preservation state of the mummies!! Of course, the mummification process of the ancient Nazca culture preserved the bodies, but under the desert conditions, there could still be thousand-year-old bodies that had hair and traces of skin intact!

Along with the mummies, bones and skulls, some ancient artifacts were also displayed, but consisted  mainly of broken pottery. Most valuables had been plundered by grave robbers. Apparently, there are possibly a lot more of such mummies that have not been unearthed yet. But for me, the eye opening takeaway, was the amazing state of the mummies in the environment.

Most tourists would have to charter a taxi to get to the Chauchilla Cemetery. But it is easily done before/after the Nazca flight. After all, the flight is just barely an hour..... ;)

Not a tourist attraction for everyone, but interesting nonetheless!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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