Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Semi-arid North > Las Animas

Culto y Funebria

While cemeteries in different valleys exhibit some major differences, the custom of burying dead individuals along with whole or partial guanaco cadavers was common, perhaps as a form of protection. These animals were apparently sacrificed to accompany the dead individual, which points to a close affective relationship between the social group and their animals. In the valleys of Huasco and Copiapó, the Las Ánimas groups built extensive cemeteries with artificial mounds filled in with sticks and stones, while further south this practice did not occur. Noteworthy among the variety of grave goods left with the dead were many kinds of metal, bone and shell adornments, ceramic vessels, and tools. It is likely that their religion was a form of shamanism that involved the inhalation of hallucinogenic substances as a ritual practice used to communicate with the deities.