Formative mobilities: Moving through the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile


Social spheres are constituted by population movements. Mobility entails not only the circulation of material goods, but of people, collective imaginary, experiences, flows of information, and knowledge. In this paper, we examine multiple types of movements through the Atacama Desert during the Formative Period (ca. 500 BCE—700 CE). Here, mobility required displacements whose variability included pedestrian travels, the movement of large llama caravans, and the use of sea lion-skin rafts to sail along the Pacific Ocean, thus involving different material means and encompassing a wide array of incentives. We offer different case studies that challenge monolithic assumptions about mobility in the South-Central Andes, often seen exclusively through the lens of ecological complementarity and primarily driven by economic exchange. We question here the spatial and temporal scale of these displacements—from daily to seasonal, from micro to macro-movements—as well as its motivations, which were prompted by different social commitments (cooperation, the creation political ties, and the livelihood of communities, to name a few). Through these case studies, we approach movement and travel as a way of life, and explore how it was incorporated into the social lives of these groups.

Cite this Record

Formative mobilities: Moving through the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile. Estefania Vidal Montero, Francisco Gallardo, Benjamín Ballester, Gonzalo Pimentel, José Blanco. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430347)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15400