Sunday, May 31, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Tombs (Nazca, Peru)

Nazca would remain off the map of all but the most intrepid travellers except for the mystifying Nazca Lines. Once in Nazca, there are two more far less known but still remarkable travel wonders to explore, namely the Nazcan aqueducts and the Chauchilla Cemetery.

Scattered across the arid lunar landscape are thousands of graves, most of which have been recently discovered and looted of pottery, weavings and other treasures leaving the skeletal remains exposed to the harsh elements. Buried in a cotton wrap and coated in a special resin, the dry conditions and sandy soil have acted as natural mummification.

Over a thousand years old, skeletons bleached by the harsh sunlight, many with matted brown dreadlocks, crouch in their tattered robes and blankets creepily grinning back from mud-brick vaults with their icy, silent glare. Shards of pottery and ceramics litter the displayed tombs.

The landscape remains pockmarked by pillagers and scattered with bones and debris, the depressions symbolic of the cultural and archaelogical vandalism (triggered by rich western collectors) that wreaked havoc on this necropolis as recently as fifteen years ago. It is an eerie feeling wandering the marked paths of this stark underworld peeking down at ghostly white skeletons, their braided hair adding a little too much life for comfort.

Though the heat and dryness of the area is unrelenting, reflect on the exceptional culture of the people who carved their lives out of the desert and left remarkable legacies and travel wonders including the wonderous Nazca Lines, a sophisticated water management system and a surreal cemetery.

Other Peru Posts
Top Ten Travel Wonders of South America
Exploring the Incan Wonderland (Machu Picchu)
Trekking to the Lost City (Inca Trail)
Potatoes with your Guinea Pig, Sir?
Flight of the Condor (Colca Canyon)
Living in Reeds (Lake Titicaca)


Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels said...

Hey Mark:
You've been splashed! Go see for yourself at:

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

Mark H said...

@barbara: Thank you for your splash nomination

@anonymous: Pleasure

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