Around 200 A.D., the Chauchilla Cemetery was established in Nazca, Peru.
However, if you were to visit the ancient burial ground, you’d immediately see that it is anything but ordinary. What’s special about this place is that although the last person was laid to rest here sometime close to 1,000 A.D., the bodies are amazingly well-preserved.
Since its discovery in the 1920s, the necropolis had been ransacked by grave robbers many times. Fortunately, a law was finally put in place to protect the area in 1997.
But despite the destruction caused by greedy people, many of the bodies
inside the open-pit graves are still in the same positions that they
were put into when they died.
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The hot, dry climate of the Sechura Desert is part of the reason why the corpses were mummified.
The other is that Nazca customs called for the dead to be wrapped in cotton and painted with resin before being “buried.”
Archeologists have found wooden posts at the site that also contributed to the mummification, as they were used to dry the dead bodies.
The preservation is so extraordinary, in fact, that some of them still have their hair and skin even after being dead for over a thousand years.
Many of the skulls have been found to have strange holes drilled into the backs with ropes threaded though, which initially caused experts to believe they were trophies of war that were worn as necklaces.
Further research has shown, though, that they came from the same group of people as the full-bodied corpses, so the reason for the holes is still unknown.
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Either way, the cultural practices of these ancient people are completely fascinating, if not a little morbid.
(via Urban Ghosts / Atlas Obscura)
If I ever happen to be traveling to Peru, I’m going to have to visit this incredible place. Would you go if you had the chance?