Chauchilla + Pampa Galeras, Peru – Eerie rasta mummies

There they are huddled in their holes, the few scraps, once noble cloths, tugged around them, the eyes hollow, the teeth bared, the matted braids must have extended to their knees. The mummies sit in their open graves in the archaeological graveyard of Chauchilla, also part of the Nasca culture. The place has been discovered by grave robbers who distributed human remains, clothes, quarry pottery, just everything they didn’t need in the desert. Archaeologists had to laboriously assemble everything again.

Now the spooky hirsute mummies are back to their today open graves built from bricks, together with not mummified skulls, bones, and bone bundles as well as few remaining burial objects. Some children are among them. The antique resting-places are shadowed by roofs as some of the parking lots are. A visit of Cementorio Arqueológico de Chauchilla gives you 5 PEN, time request about half an hour. Signed turnoff from Pan Am 25 km south of Nasca: S 14°58’55.5’’ W 74°59’31.8’’; parking lot after 7 km good trail: S 14°58’59.2’’ W 74°55’41.3’’; camping at the site or nearby should be possible.

Heading back to Nasca and east then we cross after 120 km on PE 26 the Reserva Nacionál Pampa Galeras, a natural reserve that most notably offers home to the endangered vicuñas. Here seems to live a healthy population, there are herds everywhere. It is the best place in Peru to watch these rare camelids.

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