Cahuachi, in Peru, was a major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture and overlooked some of the Nazca lines from 1 CE to about 500 CE. Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici has been excavating the site for the past few decades, bringing a team down every year. The site contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. It has also been studied by Helaine Silverman, who has written a book on Cahuachi.
The permanent population was quite small, but it was apparently a pilgrimage center that grew greatly in population for major ceremonial events. These events probably involved the Nazca lines and the giant sand dune of Nazca. Support for the pilgrimage theory comes from archaeological evidence of sparse population at Cahuachi and from the Nazca lines themselves which show creatures such as orca and monkeys which were not present in the Nazca region. Of course, trade or travel may explain the images. Due to the dry climate the finds are quite rich and include even such ephemeral material as clothing.
Looting is the greatest problem facing the site today. Most of the burial sites surrounding Cahuachi were not known until recently and so present a very tempting target.
- Helaine Silverman, Cahuachi in the Ancient Nasca World.