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An open-air museum sits frozen in time in the lonely Atacama Desert in Peru. It’s late in the afternoon and the sun is shining low and strong on a small foot path strewn with bleached human bones. Small huts haphazardly shelter ancient tombs that hold the some of the oldest mummies in the world. The arid desert has preserved the mummified human remains for thousands of years- the oldest dating back to 7020 BC. (2000 years older than the earliest mummies found in Egypt.)

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The children are mummified with great care and ceremony. However, unlike the Egyptians, this ancient South American Society mummified all of its dead regardless of status.

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Much of the site has been protected due to the great diligence of the locals and archaeologists. Though, many tombs have been disturbed by grave robbers who, in their haste to find black market treasures, carelessly scattered pieces of bones and pottery throughout the burial ground.

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A lone man sitting a table at the edge of the site resists packing up his trinkets. The sun is setting and the heat of the desert escapes with the sun in repose. The only vehicle in the desert is the one we came in. Where does he go at the end of the day? His last customers wander by and the hope sinks out of him as he slumps and begins to pack away his belongings. We run back and buy a few bracelets- not out of pity- but to remember how much differently people live around the world.

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Written by Elyse Kishimoto

Elyse Kishimoto is a regular girl with an extraordinary sense of adventure. She's done everything from hiking up volcanoes in Iceland at midnight, to sitting down to dinner with royalty. She's climbed Mt Fuji and the Great Wall of China in the same week, and explored the lost glowworm caves in New Zealand. You never know where her next story is going to come from, but you can be sure that it will be packed full of fun! After spending years reading her favourite classic novels to her students, Elyse is excited to publish her second action/ adventure novel, Sky Watchers in the popular series, The Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers. www.thetimetravellersclub.com

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