What does Chinchorro represent?
Chinchorro represents the earliest inhabitants of the Atacama Desert coast in Chile and Peru before these areas became known as Chile or Peru. This inhospitable desert was a great challenge for the small groups of Chinchorro fishermen, but they managed to adapt, thanks to the presence of fresh water and their ability in utilizing the riches of the sea. This way they settled and prospered along the coast of Southern Peru and Northern Chile between the cities of Ilo, in Peru and Antofagasta, in Chile. Today, the best evidence of this cultural group can be found in the form of mummies and middens (shell mounds) found between the cities of Arica and Iquique.
We should explain though, that in Arica, the origins of these settlements date back to the year 7000 B.C. with the people that lived in the Acha Ravine, at the entrance to the Azapa Valley, about six kilometers from the coast. Nevertheless, only from around 5,000 B.C. in the Camarones Ravine (Camarones 14 Site) did the first evidence of artificial mummification begin to appear. About ten Centuries later, this practice appears in what is now the city of Arica.