Chauchilla Cemetery

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Chauchilla Cemetery
Nazca-chauchilla-c06.jpg
Mummy in the Cemetery of Chauchilla
Details
Year established c.200 AD
Location Chauchilla, Nazca
Country Peru

Chauchilla Cemetery is a cemetery that contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts, located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city of Nazca in Peru.[1][2]

History[edit]

The cemetery was discovered in the 1920s,[3] but had not been used since the 9th century AD. The cemetery includes many important burials over a period of 600 to 700 years. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. It is important as a source of archaeology to Nazca culture.[4] The cemetery has been extensively plundered by huaqueros (grave robbers) who have left human bones and pottery scattered around the area.[4] Similar local cemeteries have been damaged to a greater extent.[2] The site has been protected by Peruvian law since 1997 and tourists pay around seven U.S. dollars to take the two-hour tour of this ancient necropolis.[2] The site is by the Poroma riverbed and can be accessed off a dirt track from the Panamerican Highway.[4] In 1997, the majority of the scattered bones and plundered pottery were restored to the tombs.[1]

The tombs were built for family groups

Preservation of the bodies[edit]

The bodies are so remarkably preserved due mainly to the dry climate in the Peruvian Desert but the funeral rites were also a contributing factor. The bodies were clothed in embroidered cotton and then painted with a resin and kept in purpose-built tombs made from mud bricks. The resin is thought to have kept out insects and slowed bacteria trying to feed on the bodies.[1]

The nearby site of Estaquería may provide clues to the remarkable preservation of the numerous bodies in these cemeteries. At that site, archeologists found wooden pillars initially thought to have been used for astronomical sightings.[5] However, it is now believed that the posts were used to dry bodies in a mummification process.[2] This may account for the high degree of preservation seen in thousand-year-old bodies which still have hair and the remains of soft tissue, such as skin.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McGuinness, Tim. "The Chauchilla Tombs". Retrieved 2009-10-19. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d Box, Ben; Alan Murph (2003). Peru handbook (4th ed.). Footprint Travel Guides. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-903471-51-7. 
  3. ^ Barrett, Pam (2002). Peru. Langenscheidt Publishing Group. p. 178. ISBN 978-981-234-808-1. Retrieved October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Jenkins, Dilwyn Jenkins (2003). The Rough Guide to Peru. Rough Guides. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-84353-074-9. Retrieved October 2007. 
  5. ^ http://www.periododeaventura.com/tours/cahuachi.html

Coordinates: 14°59′00″S 74°55′35″W / 14.9833°S 74.9263°W / -14.9833; -74.9263