Putting the Mummy Back in the Nazca Mummies

In this article, I will temporarily set aside the fact that the Nazca mummies don’t appear human and will instead focus on their significance as mummies. I will specifically be looking at Maria and Wawita. They are remarkable as mummies in ways that merit further investigation by academics, media, and independent lay people such as myself. Come one and all. Let’s learn more about them.

Something Outside a Preconception Doesn’t Automatically Make it a Hoax

I hadn’t planned on writing again about the Nazca mummies. Don’t get me wrong—I think they are very interesting, but I would much rather relax with a cup of tea and read well-reasoned articles authored more qualified individuals than myself. However, I continue to see new Nazca mummy articles which don’t appear to be based on an honest examination of the bodies. The articles give me the impression that the mummies are prejudged as hoaxes because people who look like Maria and Wawita are outside a preconceived realm of possibility. This is not really evidence that they are a hoax because it may be that the preconception is inaccurate. Neither is the often harped on cost of a Gaia subscription evidence of a hoax. That viewer funding is actually what enables Gaia’s freedom to independently research and report on topics in a way that doesn’t fit the narrative of dubious foundations and corporations holding the purse strings of much of media and academia.

here is the evidence

I don’t have enough information yet to know if the Nazca mummies discovery is legitimate or a hoax, but I do know that they are worthy of the amount of investigation required to make that determination. It is not honest to declare them to be hoaxes without having examined the evidence thoroughly. That would be like a doctor who declares a patient dead and recommends a quick burial without even having carried out an examination.

doctor declaring too soon


As discussed in my previous July and August articles, in the spring of 2017, Gaia began documenting a scientific investigation of mummified bodies which were discovered in an undisclosed underground area near Nazca, Peru. The body of an adult female given the name Maria and that of a baby given the name Wawita appear to be members of a non-human species which is tridactyl (having three-fingered hands and three-toed feet) and has an enlarged cranium, enlarged eye sockets, and non-human vertebrae and rib counts. What appear to be smaller mummified humanoid bodies of a different species were also found. Three were given the names Alberto, Josephina, and Victoria, and three others were given the collective name of “the family”.

all of the mummies

Historic Discovery of a Previously Unknown Mummification Process

Even if Maria and Wawita were in every other way unremarkable, the seemingly unique and highly successful method of their mummification makes their discovery historically significant. I believe they are the only known examples of an anthropogenic mummification process which relies on the naturally dry environment combined with a body coating of diatomaceous earth rather than more elaborate procedures such as organ removal or embalming.

People generally associate mummies with Egypt, but examples of preserved humans exist throughout the world including Peru where the Nazca mummies were found. All mummies are categorized into two groups, anthropogenic and spontaneous. Anthropogenic mummies are preserved bodies which have undergone procedures deliberately carried out by humans for the purpose of preservation. Examples of anthropogenic Peruvian mummies include the royal Inca mummies known as mallquis. These emperors, wives, and other nobility underwent organ removal, skin tanning, and embalming. Spontaneous mummies are preserved bodies which occur naturally without such procedures. Examples of spontaneous Peruvian mummies include the “Llullaillaco mummies” that were sacrificial victims who had been naturally preserved by being left in a freezing cold mountain environment.

anthropogenic and spontaneous mummies

The Nazca mummies were discovered with a coating of white powder. This was determined by laboratory analysis to be diatomaceous earth, which is the fossilized shells of microscopic single-celled algae called diatoms. Diatomaceous earth is highly absorbent and inhibits parasitic insects and harmful microorganisms. As far as I can tell through my research, the Nazca mummies show the first evidence of diatomaceous earth in the mummification process. Diatomaceous earth would seem to be a beneficial material for preserving a body because it combats the moisture, insects, and microorganisms which contribute to decomposition. The environment’s extreme aridity combined with the use of diatomaceous earth may account for the high state of preservation of the ancient bodies.

I believe that this coating of diatomaceous earth is evidence that they were intentionally preserved and are therefore anthropogenic mummies. The seated pose of Maria and Wawita is also consistent with the mummifying practices of the Nazca. What is unusual is that there is no visible evidence of them having been bundled in cloth like other anthropogenic Nazca mummies. Their high level of preservation is also unusual.

High Level of Preservation

Some mummies in Peru such as the previously mentioned Llullaillaco mummies which had remained frozen until later discovery are far better preserved than the Nazca mummies. However, I have been unable to find other non-frozen pre-Columbian Peruvian mummies that match the level of preservation of Maria and Wawita. But that does not mean that they don’t exist. I encourage any readers with more information to share it with me so I can update this article or include it in a future one.

Maria and Wawita are so well preserved that almost all of their soft tissue appears to be present. Even their inner organs are intact. It seems logical to me that academics who study mummies or the Nazca culture would take an interest in these exceptionally well preserved mummies considering that both were found in the Nazca region, and that Maria has been conclusively carbon dated to the Nazca period. Further investigation of these Nazca mummies should be able to provide important insights into the Nazca culture. They are far better preserved than other mummies from the Nazca culture in the Chauchilla Cemetery which are considered very well preserved for only having a small amount of soft tissue remaining, and are noted as an important archaeological resource. Arguably, the artifacts and context is what helps make Chauchilla Cemetery important. The Nazca mummies were also discovered with artifacts within a tomb, and if authorities showed a willingness to cooperate with the discoverers, more of that evidence might be made available.

chauchilla cemetary


1600-Year-Old Mummies Deserve to be Preserved and Studied

The bodies of Maria and Wawita appear to have undergone an unprecedented mummification method involving being coated by diatomaceous earth which has resulted in their near perfect preservation for at least the past 1600 years. Now that they have been discovered, their future preservation is key and Gaia’s research team seems to understand this. They have openly stated in a press conference that their main concern is to preserve these mummies from deterioration or disappearing into the black market so that they can be properly investigated by those with the appropriate resources. I believe they have been sincere when stating that they feel an obligation to conserve and study the historically important mummies to the best of their ability and resources after others have refused to do so.

What else can you do when even the Peruvian Ministry of Culture appears to have ignored or refused multiple direct written and verbal requests to participate in the preservation and protection of the mummies. That seems highly inappropriate when in their own words, one of their main functions is “to carry out actions of conservation and protection of the cultural heritage.” I would have thought that near perfectly preserved 1600 year old Peruvian mummies constitute being a part of Peru’s cultural heritage.

Now let’s take a step back for just a moment and look at the big picture. Forget about the number of mummy fingers or number of dollars for a Gaia subscription. These mummies are really old and really special. Mummies this well preserved don’t pop up every day. Members of government, academia, and media, please give them the intellectually honest attention they deserve before they crumble to dust or disappear to the black market. If it is subsequently discovered that Maria and Wawita were just pieced together hoaxes, you will help us by uncovering a fraud. But, if Maria and Wawita are genuine, current and future generations will have learned more about their past and will be grateful to you for doing the right thing now. Either way, you will be a hero for finding the truth.

heroic preservation