Chauchilla cemetery

Trip Start Jun 02, 2005
Trip End Aug 19, 2005

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, July 3, 2005

We had plans to fly the lines this weekend, but there was a haze that persisted so we decided to hold off until a clearer day. We were able to go visit a cool prehistoric cemetery outside of town called Chauchilla. It is from the Inca-Chica culture and dates to AD 1000-1450. The dead were buried in underground tombs with grave goods to accompany them into the afterlife. But like all other sites it was being highly looted. The Institute of Culture turned it into a tourist attraction and uses the funds to protect it. All of the Peruvians in our group discouraged us from going. They say it is all staged and very ¨fea (ugly).¨ The tombs themselves are original but the skeletons that are placed inside did not originally come from those tombs. Everything had been looted. So they basically excavated and cleaned up the most impressive tombs, placed the best preserved skeletons inside them, and then opened it to the public. However, even though they are reconstructions, they do offer a pretty accurate depiction of the burial practices of the past. I think the Peruvian distaste for the cemetery really stems from their sentiment that exposing the dead is offensive. I am not sure how they reconcile that belief with the work they do.
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