VALUATION OF THE CHOMACHE PAINTINGS ON THE ARID COAST OF THE ATACAMA DESERT (NORTH OF CHILE)
VALORACIÓN DE LAS PINTURAS DE CHOMACHE EN LA COSTA ÁRIDA DEL DESIERTO DE ATACAMA (NORTE DE CHILE)
Lautaro Núñez and Luis Briones
In this paper, we describe and analyze the panel with pictographs of Punta Chomache, located on the coast of the Atacama Desert, between Iquique and the mouth of the Loa River. The panel has geometric and conventional designs, mainly of fish, birds, and camelids, which are painted with white pigment and red additions. A chronological and cultural transitional affiliation during the Early Pica-Tarapacá Complex (650-900 to 1450 AD) is suggested, probably associated with a low density coastal occupation and possibly with a dual residence pattern. It would be a peripheral enclave integrated into the caravan networks coming from the oasis of Pica and Guatacondo/Tamentica. The panel is interpreted as a visual and ritual sign regarding the recurrence of exceptional fish stranding events, which caused feasts, social interactions, and transfers of surpluses to the fertile interior nodes.