Bone dry and baking hot, Nazca was a desert-scorched dead town until a flyby by American scientist, Paul Kosok, revealed one of Peru’s most enigmatic and mysterious achievements.
A 20-minute flight in a 5-seater CESSNA set me back £50 and was an awesome way to get a birds eye view of these enormous engravings. One of the largest (96m long) and most amazing is the humming bird.
Chauchilla Cemetery – Nazca.
The cemetery of Chauchilla was discovered in the 1920s, but had not been used since the 9th century AD. The cemetery includes many important burials over a period of 600 to 700 years, starting in about 200 AD.
The bodies are so well 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. The long hair of the mummies in the pictures below signifies that they were ‘shaman’ (high priests) – their hair would not have been cut throughout their entire life.
Click here to view part of the flight across the Nazca lines.
Next stage: Lima.