Nazca: Giant shapes in the desert and Necropoli filled with awesome ancient dead people

Nazca Travel Blog

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Kristi and I happy to FINALLY be in the plane.
Nazca Lines

Kristi and I booked our Nazca lines flight the night before through the owner of our hotel.  She said that the flight could leave as early as 7:30 or as late as 9:00 am depending on the weather.  So, we were downstairs raring to see some giant shapes in the sand at 7:20 am.  The hotel owner was no where to be seen.  7:40 am she scurried out in her pjs to tell us the flight was now 10:30 am due to high winds or some other bad weather.  She promised that we were leaving at 10:30 am.  So we decided to grab a little breakfast since it would be so long until we would leave for the airport that there wouldn't be too much fear of it coming back up.
"Astronaut"
  10:30 am rolled around, we were in the lobby waiting for our driver to take us to the airport.  11:00 am, still no driver.  The hotel owner showed up, upon seeing us waiting bundles Kristi and I into her car and sped off to the airport.  We arrived 10 minutes later and were told our plane would not leave until NOON!  Needless to say by now Kristi and were getting a little pissed.  We learned that yesterday had been a terrible fly day because the weather was so bad and many of the flights had been bumped to this morning.  We met a group of girls that had been waiting since 6:30 am to fly over the lines!!  Determined to be the squeaky wheel so we would actually get to fly today, we hounded the workers at our airlines desk.  Constantly bugging them about when we would take off.
  Noon rolled around and now we were told that we were waiting for one more person to join us.  She showed up at 12:15 and we were then allowed to go wait by the tarmac for a half an hour.  Apparently, they did not want to put us in a 5 seater but were waiting for the 3 seater and its pilot to become available.  It was almost 1 pm before we finally got to take off.

The flight was a great way to get a birds eye view of Nazca, the desert and the massive desert mountains that border the valley.  The Lines themselves were sadly small, disappointing and at times difficult to make out.  No one knows why the ancient people at Nazca built the shapes in the sand, but what they do tell us is that these people had a good grasp of engineering and mathematics because the accuracy with which the shapes were created could have only been done through engineering.
Me happily bone IDing.
  You can't see the shapes unless you are in an airplane.  There isn't a mountain high enough in the area that would give one a view looking down on the shapes.  From the ground or even up on a mountain you are still too close to the shapes to properly see them.  So the ancient Nazca people had to have employed engineering to make the shapes so precise.

Overall though, I would say the flight was not worth the $65 and the loads to time wasted waiting for the flight to take off.

Chauchillan Cemetery

The Chauchillan Cemetery dates to about 1000 AD.  The Chauchillans existed between the Wari Culture and the Incans.  Our first stop at the site was the small museum containing a few complete mummies (including skin, clothes and hair) from intact burials found at the necropolis.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
  The mummies were eviscerated and salts and other minerals used to mummify them.  Next we explored the tombs.  14 tombs had been left open for our perusal and they all contained bodies, not their original occupants, but human remains from the necropolis.  Many of the tombs at the cemetery had been disturbed by tomb robbers and their contents strewn all over the desert.  Archaeologists collected the intact or mostly intact (minus their flesh, only the undisturbed burials had their flesh intact, though most of the mummies still had their hair) bodies and placed them in the tombs.  The placement of the bodies in the tombs were based on what archaeologists learned from the unrobbed tombs.  Lookinq around the site it was obvious that there were still many more tombs to be uncovered and excavated.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
 

The tombs at the cemetery were all family tombs with multiple people buried in each one.  The tombs often had a male, female and child or infant.  The infants were headless because the Chauchillans believed that to free the soul of the baby, the head had to be removed after death and used in a ceremony.  The head was replaced with a small pumpkin and then baby and pumpkin were mummified and wrapped up with linen.  Looks like the Chauchillans beat whoever came up with the headless horseman to the punch. 

The surface of the Chauchillan necropolis is covered with human bone fragments and bits of pottery.  This all comes from the disturbed burials.  The cemetery is located out in the desert, about a 45 minute drive from town and is surrounded on 3 sides by giant desert mountains that really reminded me of the necropoli locations in Egypt.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
  The Chauchillans buried their dead facing East, toward the rising sun. 

I found the Chauchillan cemetery fascinating, but then again I'm a human remains kind of girl.  The burials and traditional clothing and hair styles that the Chauchillans were buried with were really interesting!  Also, the sheer number of intact individuals and how exposed they were for us to look at, made the site very unique.
jlvc727 says:
Can you email me? I wanted to know more about your experience in Nazca, I'm headed there in 2 weeks. jlvc727@yahoo.com thanks.
Posted on: Nov 06, 2008
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Kristi and I happy to FINALLY be i…
Kristi and I happy to FINALLY be …
Astronaut
"Astronaut"
Me happily bone IDing.
Me happily bone IDing.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Kristi giving the thumbs up to hea…
Kristi giving the thumbs up to he…
Our little plane is in the backgro…
Our little plane is in the backgr…
Nazca.
Nazca.
Monkey.
Monkey.
Dog.
Dog.
Bird.
Bird.
Spider.
Spider.
Hummingbird.
Hummingbird.
Heron.
Heron.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchil…
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchi…
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchil…
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchi…
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchil…
Mummy from intact burial. Chauchi…
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Me IDing the distal portion of the…
Me IDing the distal portion of th…
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
Chauchillan Cemetery.
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
The bus stops in Nazca have differ…
The bus stops in Nazca have diffe…
Kristi zapping her OJ with the pen…
Kristi zapping her OJ with the pe…
Nazca lines painted on the wall of…
Nazca lines painted on the wall o…
Nazca
photo by: ulysses