Nazca’s desert mummies

Compared to flying over the Nazca Lines, the Chauchilla Cemetery, an open-air Nazca burial site in use from about 200AD to 900AD and more recently an Indiana Jones movie location, was entirely subterranean.

Chauchilla has been legally protected since 1997 but local grave robbers (huaqueros) plundered the site since it was discovered in the 1920s. The cemetery is in the middle of a desert with simple thatched roofs covering open burial pits. The Nazca Desert is extremely arid and because of this and various embalming techniques, hair, clothing and even some soft tissue is well preserved. An occasional bone or scrap of cloth lies scattered on the ground.

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