Atacama Desert, northern Chile. The desert climate, associated with large concentrations of gem salt found in the Atacama soils, makes this region one of the most arid in the world, which favors the preservation of organic matter. As a consequence, many prehistoric bodies have been found in their sands in good conservation condition. This is the case of the body of this individual, found in a grave in Chiu-Chiu, near the city of Calama, at more than two thousand meters of altitude. Its grave, typically atacamena, was used between 4,700 and 3,400 years ago, a period when desert cultures began their caravan activities. In the cold of the desert it was common to sleep seated, with his head resting on his knees, possibly a way to warm up better under ponchos and hats made of llama wool. This was also the position where the dead were buried, wrapped in clothes and blankets, along with their belongings. In this case, there remains only the typical Atacena hat he wears, woven in wool and garnished with llama hairs. Your body has no external signs of the cause of death. The visible lesion on the left face, where the bone is fractured, was due to trauma. The Atacamenhos had no warrior tradition, but at times they fought and practiced violent rituals.


  • Title: Prehistoric mummy of a male
  • Rights: Copyright © 2017 Museu Nacional/UFRJ
  • Sala de Exposição: Culturas Pré-Colombianas
  • Data de Origem/Produção: c. 4.700 e 3.400 anos atás
  • Area de Conhecimento: Arqueologia


Google apps