DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Prehistory- GEOGLYPHS AND ARTIFACTS  

 

Geoglyphs are prehistoric art made by moving or adding rocks or surfacial soil to change the color of certain areas in the desired patterns. By far the most famous site is the Nasca Lines of southern Peru, but these have been treated at length elsewhere.  There are many geoglyphs in northern Chile, however, and a few are presented here.  Some have become quite faint with age, others have been restored.

 

There has been much discussion about the meaning of these huge art forms.  Some believe that they were employed to mark routes or territorial borders. Click to see big picture (640x381 pixels; 115 KB)
Others believe that they were pleas or messages to the gods. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 128 KB)
It seems that a mixture of figures and geometric shapes such as this must have coded some kind of message. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 134 KB)
This outline style of geoglyph has been restored for tourists and all. Click to see big picture (640x284 pixels; 61 KB)
Nicely stylized, this could pass for modern art. Click to see big picture (640x354 pixels; 85 KB)
An example of marks made by removing the darker surfacial layer. Click to see big picture (640x381 pixels; 122 KB)
An example of designs made by bringing in darker rocks. Click to see big picture (640x408 pixels; 113 KB)
A mystery.  Parts of the Atacama desert are marked by these widespread patterns (albeit faint) made by dots.  Are they artificial, and what do they mean?
And what of southern Chile, whose indigenous peoples proved arguably the fiercest in the Americas.  Most of their works were of wood and have long gone.  There are no barren hillsides for geoglyphs.  Here, however, is a rare carved stone. Click to see big picture (619x480 pixels; 162 KB)
We found this lovely obsidian arrowhead on a hillside east of Linares.  It was likely abandoned when the tip broke off, but shows the type of technology that the European settlers faced in over a hundred years of battles against the tribes of the Araucanian region. Click to see big picture (604x434 pixels; 100 KB)
There are no silver mines in southern Chile, but the indigenous peoples developed a craft in silver, originally from all the metal they took from soldiers and settlers.  This is a pin to hold a poncho closed, known as a Punzo Tupu. Click to see big picture (640x377 pixels; 59 KB)
A collection of Mapuche silver at the amazing Museo del Colchagua (in Santa Cruz, Chile), shows some of the variety and artistic talent of their work.
On the more open Argentine pampas, rock balls known as boleros were swung and thrown on long chords to ensnare the legs of the ostrich-like ñandu.  This one was found with a twisted root which may have been part of the original weapon. Click to see big picture (500x480 pixels; 99 KB)
In the central valley of Chile, the natives cut holes in rounded stones.  There are many theories as to their use, but no agreement.  They are locally refered to as "tortilla stones".
Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 88 KB)