Peru’s Necropolis: Chauchilla Cemetery

From Wikipedia.  Photo of a mummy from Chauchilla Cemetery.

From Wikipedia. Photo of a mummy from Chauchilla Cemetery.

Discovered in the 1920’s, Chauchilla Cemetery is a necropolis consisting of mud-brick tombs and mummified remains belonging to the Nazca people, with interments that date between 200 and 900AD.   After a member of the Nazca culture died, their body was mummified, clothed and painted, then placed in one of the mud-brick tombs that belonged to their family.  Though many of the mummies are at least 1000 years old, many still have skin and hair attached.  The incredible preservation of these bodies is due to both the mummification process and the dry (arid) environment of the Peruvian desert.

Over the years, grave robbers ransacked the tombs, leaving mummies, human bones, clothing, and pottery scattered throughout the area.   Since 1997, Peruvian law has protected the Chauchilla Cemetery, and tourists can pay a small fee to get a tour of the necropolis.  Now the mummies, bones, and pottery have been carefully arranged in about a dozen tombs.  According to, this is the only archaeological site in Peru in which ancient mummies and skeletal remains can be seen with grave goods in burial chambers.

Below is a slide show from YouTube that has additional photos from this site:

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Categories: Archaeology

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