Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Chile before Chile

Chinchorro: Burial by the sea

Chinchorro fishermen used elaborate measures to mummify their dead, thereby keeping their memory alive among those left behind. They prepared the body by removing the muscles and viscera and replacing them with branches, feathers, leather strips, skeins of yarn and other material. They then covered the body with a layer of mud and adorned the head with a wig of human hair. The practice of mummification began in Chile’s Far North around 6000 B.C., almost three millennia before it was employed in Egypt, and ceased around 2000 B.C.