Chauchilla Cemetery, Nasca
While visiting Nasca we had a morning free before taking a flight over the famous Nasca lines. So we decided to visit the Chauchilla Cemetery.
You will find the cemetery located 30km south of Nasca. After our visit to the cemetery we stopped at the Nasca airport for our flight over the Nasca lines. Then we headed back into Nasca for the night.
There is a small fee to enter the cemetery. Once you have paid the entrance fee you are able to wonder the area yourself. However, the best way to see it is to hire a guide who can explain the historical significance of the area.
The history of the cemetery is really interesting. It is believed the cemetery dates back to 200 AD with most burials happening in the 600 to 700 years following.
As with so many historical sites, grave robbers have taken their toll with artefacts and mummies stolen over the centuries. As a result, the cemetery is now protected by Peruvian law.
What Is There to See?
The area surrounding the cemetery is desert (as is the entire area around Nasca). You walk through the entrance and head to burial sites along a dusty path. Along this walk you find bones and old cloth scattered across the ground.
The area you visit is quite small. Most of the mummies located at the cemetery were discovered elsewhere around Nasca. Over time they have been moved to the burial chambers open for viewing. You look down into the burial chambers where adult and infant mummies are located. Each burial chamber is covered by a timber structure to shade it from the sun.
The mummies are in the open air and not protected from the elements, apart from the sun. As a result of the dry weather, the mummies apparently do not deteriorate any faster by being in the open air. Even with the reassurance, I still was saddened to think these centuries old mummies were not protected in any way.
If you have two to three hours spare while in Nasca, the cemetery is definitely worth a visit. Just remember that it is 30km outside of the town so you will need to factor travel time into your visit.