Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Ethnic Studies

First Committee Member

Bernardo T. Arriaza

Number of Pages



The Chinchorros were the aboriginal, pre-ceramic peoples of the northern Chilean and southern Peruvian coastline. The Chinchorro culture used four types of mummification techniques (red, black, natural and mud-coated). Each of these types may be distinct to the chronological time period in which it was used and, therefore, the typology would be used to define the Chinchorro chronology. Also, if the mummification styles are unique to a particular time period it would support the idea that this was an egalitarian group that did not recognize individual social rank in mortuary practices. To test these hypotheses 16 samples from 15 Chinchorro mummies of the Arica, Chile area were 14C dated. These figures were then compared to 23 previously published dates. Results demonstrated that the classification scheme proposed by Arriaza (1995a, 1995b) is supported with one exception. The exception, in which natural mummies are dated within the periods of other techniques, may demonstrate the use of a social ranking within the Chinchorro culture. Another conclusion the dating gives support to the idea that Chinchorro cemeteries have been in constant re-use.


Chile; Chinchorro; Culture; Evaluation; Mortuary; Northern; Practices; Prehistoric; Radiometric

Controlled Subject

Archaeology; Physical anthropology

File Format


File Size

1914.88 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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