Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Arid North > Toconce – Turi


While the influence of the State of Tiwanaku faded into memory in the Atacama region, local societies reconfigured themselves into señoríos, each with its own unique features, giving way to two major and rather distinct traditions: the Desert Tradition and the Altiplano Tradition. The Toconce-Turi groups represent the latter tradition, and many of their cultural, technological and ceremonial traits were strongly influenced by the cultures of the Bolivian highlands. The most noticeable of these Altiplano features include their complex terraced farming and irrigation systems, the ceremonial chullpa, the settlement pattern itself, and the decorative style found on some of their ceramics. Their extensive agricultural fields, which reflects an intensification of this activity, coupled with larger-sized villages, suggests a considerable population density, while the defensive features of some of those villages, which seem to be rather like forts or pukaras, illustrate that this process of growth did not occur without tension among communities. Later on, these señoríos had to deal with the conquering Inka Empire and then the Spanish conquistadores, which completely reconfigured their culture and society. These groups are the most direct ancestors of the indigenous Atacameño groups, also known as the likan antai people, that still inhabit the inland territories of Antofagasta today.