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The Chauchilla Cemetery is a 3rd century burial complex located on the Nazca Plains of southwest Peru. It is located south of the city of Nazca. Discovered in the 1920s, it had been used until the late 900s by the Nazca indians as a repository for their mummified dead - possibly due to its commanding view of the famous Nazca Lines, massive geoglyphs created by the Nazca for their gods.


Around 1546, the mummified body of the famed Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana was interred at the Chauchilla Cemetery after his death at the hands of the Nazca along with the six conquistadors that he'd killed to prevent their taking the Crystal Skull of Akator.[2]


Jones and Mutt in the Chauchilla Cemetery.

In 1957, Indiana Jones and Mutt Williams followed a hint in Oxley's second letter and journeyed to Nazca looking for "Orellana's cradle". There they realized that Oxley meant Orellana's grave at Chauchilla Cemetery. The locals, fearful of grave robbers, posted guards to keep watch at night. These guards were fierce warriors who wore terrifying skull masks, and either killed or drove away whoever dare to enter the cemetery after hours. Jones suspected the cemetery warriors of being a secret tribe of Nazca, or at least their descendants.[1]

Harold Oxley had been able to get in and out twice by going in during the daytime, when the guards were sleeping.[2] Jones and Mutt, however, who went at night, were attacked by two warriors. Jones killed one with his own poisoned arrow and drove away the other. They then continued the search until they found the hidden grave-chamber where Orellana and his companions were buried.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

In the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script, the Chauchilla Cemetery overlooked the Pacific Ocean, but production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas suggested the Nazca Lines be used instead, a concept director Steven Spielberg liked and used, though the scene was ultimately simplified.[3]



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