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Chauchilla Cemetery facts for kids

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Chauchilla Cemetery
Details
Established c.200 AD
Location
Chauchilla, Nazca
Country Peru

Chauchilla Cemetery is a cemetery that has prehistoric remains of prehispanics. Their bodies, which are mummified, contain artifacts. The cemetery is 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city of Nazca in Peru.

History

Nazca-chauchilla-c07
The tombs were built for families.

The cemetery was discovered in the 1920s. However, it was last used in the 9th century. The cemetery has a lot of very important burials that happened over a period of 600 to 700 years. The cemetery was first used around the year 200. This cemetery is a very important source of archaeology to Nazca culture. Because the cemetery was damaged a long time ago, it was protected by Peruvian law in 1997. Tourists pay around seven U.S. dollars for a two-hour tour of the cemetery.

Preservation of the bodies

The bodies inside the cemetery have been preserved which is probably because of the dry climate in the Peruvian Desert. However, the funeral rites were also an important factor. The bodies had clothes on them which were made of cotton and were painted with a resin. They were bought in the cemetery, which was built from mud bricks. The resin was thought to have kept out insects and slowed bacteria from feeding on the bodies.

Estaquería, a nearby cemetery, may have given clues to show how the bodies were preserved. At Estaquería, archaeologists have found wooden pillars which was first thought to have been used for astronomical sightings. However, it is not thought that those posts were used to dry the bodies. This was a mummification process. This clue helped archaeologists to understand why these thousand-year-old bodies still had their hair and some soft tissue, like skin, still attached to them.

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