South America: Geoglyphs / Chilean geoglyphs

PHOTO: trumao

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This paper presents a summary of work carried out by the author and his colleagues over the past 30 years. A register of sites with geoglyphs, together with their associated cultural and environmental contexts, constitutes the most complete database known for northern Chile, offering new possibilities for interpretation of the geoglyphs. The already classic bibliographic references of Alberto Plageman, summarised in his work 'Los Pintados de Chile' presented at the XIVth Congress of Americanists, and of Bollaert and O'Brien in the nineteenth century on the geoglyphs of the northern desert, were our precursors, and served as stimuli for other investigators in the second half of the twentieth century to follow in their footsteps--for example, Niemeyer, Nunez, Monstny, Bittmann; and, most recently, Clarkson, Briones, Chacama, Espinosa, Cerda and others. The first systematic study of geoglyphs in Tarapaca was carried out by Lautaro Nunez (Nunez 1976), who presented an interpretation related to the traffic of caravans in the late period in the Chilean desert. Later, starting in 1978, and as a consequence of the deterioration of various sites around the Panamerican highway, a programme of appraisal and conservation was initiated in the valleys of Lluta, Azapa, Chiza, Tiliviche, Cerro Rosita, Cerro Unita and Cerros Pintados in the region of Tarapaca; and of Quillagua, Tranque Sloman and Chug-Chug in the region of Antofagasta. This process enabled us to discover new archaeological sites, carry out their exhaustive recording and documentation, and incorporate new background information on the geographical context and the landscape in which they occur. Together with previous observations (Boallaert 1860; Nunez 1976; Cerda et al. 1985; Mostny & Niemeyer 1983), this information has been gathered together to form a new comprehensive database. Based on this corpus, I offer a first analysis of regional groups and some preliminary interpretations.


vit 01.02.2013 19:40
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