Atacama desert dating

The Chinchorro (named in the 1960s for a beach in Arica where similar mummies had been found) were prehistoric fisherfolk who lived in scattered villages along the desert coast of Chile and Peru.

The tiny body lying on the table in front of me was that of an infant no more than a few months old.

At 2,400 meters / 7.875 feet, and with a permanent population of only 5,000 people, the fantastic atmosphere of the town lends itself to amazing food, comfortable hotels, hostels and an all-around great vibe.

A fisherman’s dog dug up a thousand-year-old corpse (above) near Camarones Cove; his master posed it like a macabre sun worshiper.

By the time this individual died, the Chinchorro had long since abandoned mummification.

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Many years ago it was considered the center of a Paleolithic civilization that built impressive rock fortresses on steep mountains encircling the valley.

One of the most intriguing and controversial Atacaman geoglyphs is the so-called Atacama Giant, which continues to stir debate regarding its true meaning and interpretation.

The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, west of the Andes mountains, which extends across parts of Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina.

The air is cool and arid here in the Atacama, the world's highest and driest desert in the far northern reaches of Chile, along the Andes mountain range at the borders of Bolivia and Argentina.

The small group of indigenous Atacameños reaches the peak just before sunrise on this winter solstice, June 21—the New Year for the Atacameño people. As the sun begins its climb over the horizon the elder pulls out a knife and, with great respect and reverence, cuts open the animal's chest.