Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Center > Aconcagua

Beliefs and funeral rites

In general, the dead were buried in individual or collective graves covered over by a mound of earth. These burial mounds (túmulos) were described by early Spanish historians, who told that the deceased were dressed in their best attire and laid to rest with offerings of maize, beans, ceramic items, copper earrings and necklaces, and other grave goods. The rituals of the Aconcagua people seem to have left their mark to this day on the inhabitants of the Aconcagua River valley: The dances performed by the “Chinos”—fraternities of fishermen and peasants who dance in reverence to the Virgin Mary and specific patron saints—still contain some elements that likely originated with this prehistoric culture. A case in point is their use of a flute that produces a unique sound, called “rajado,” which matches the sound produced by prehistoric flutes attributed to the Aconcagua culture.