The Grinning Skeletons of Peru’s 1000-Year-Old Nazca Cemetery



Image: Colegota

Screaming or laughing?

In a sand-dusted cemetery in the desert, 30 kilometers south of the city of Nazca in Peru, lie the skeletal remains of an ancient people. Inside the open tombs there are not simply scattered bones but whole human mummies, as well as archeological artifacts. Skulls leer up at those souls who venture down the dirt track that leads to this sepulchral site; skeletons in virtually the same ghastly poses in which they were frozen a millennium and more ago. If you ever wanted to see what you might look like after death, these figures – complete with hair – offer a glimpse. Do ghosts haunt this creepy South American burial ground? We wouldn’t be surprised.


Image: Colegota

Bad hair day

Chauchilla Cemetery was discovered in the 1920s, yet the last time it was used was back in the 9th century AD. Moreover, the first use of the timeworn necropolis dates deeper still in the mists of time, as early as 200 AD. The length of time for which this place of death served its purpose – together with the important burials to be found here – only adds to the sense of intrigue that pervades the desert site.

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