Notes on the old indian necropolis of arica

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Notes on the old Indian necropolis of Arica.


While engaged in a biological survey of the Chilean Pacific islands, the Swedish expedition 191t-17 under my direction also visited Arica (May 1917), situated ill one of the most pronounced desert regions of the South American west coast. On the premises of the Arica fortress, behind the well-known Morro de Arica, is anold Indian cemetery, used during many centuries, from the beginning of our era to the Inca period. The deep sand hides innumerable objects, admirably preserved in an arid climate and a saltcontaining soil. The fine specimens of decorated pottery, among other things, have attracted visitors and caused them to make excavations, in most cases unfortunately without taking the necessary precautions.This is the more to be regretted as the remains date from various periods. At the time of our visit the sand was strewn with fragments of human bodies, textiles, broken vases etc. Finds made in Arica are mentioned in many works (see list of literature at end), but our knowledge of the ancient civilizations is mainly due to Dr. Max Uhle. When we visited the place his results were still unpublished,but in 19I7 »Los aborigines de Arica t appeared, in 1918 »Los aborigines de Arica y el hombre americana », and in 1919 two more detailed and profusely illustrated memoirs were added, »Fundamentos etnicos a and »La arqueologfa de Arka y Tacna ». Owing to the innumerable misprints a second edition of these two papers appeared in 1922; this is the edition quoted below. Having obtained permission tomake a few excavations and to collect for Swedish museums I at once set to work, assisted by Mrs. Skottsberg and Mr. (now Dr.) K. Backstrom. About 250 objects were brought together, all now in the possession of the Ethno-


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graphical department of the Gothenburg Museum. The catalogue number of the collection is G. M. 19.I. I am not an archaeologist or an ethnographer, and I never had any intention to publish anything about this collection, the more as it was in the able hands of Baron E. Nordenskiold. Unfortunately, he has been too busy with more important matters; still, he wanted to have the collectionexamined in time for the 21St congress of. Americanists to be celebrated in Gothenburg this year, and for this reason persuaded me to study it and to prepare this paper. I am greatly indebted to him for his kind assistance and good advic~, but in spite of his efforts the result is, in many respects, unsatisfactory. My knowledge of these things is far too limited, and the time allowed me has beentoo short. Thus this paper should be regarded only as a handful of supplementary notes to Uhle's memoirs and as an illustrated list of the objects collected. For valuable assistance I am indebted to Professor G. Bodman, Dr. F. von Bergen, Dr. O. Porsselius, Professor A.I ..... anglet, Professor E. Lonnberg, Dr. N. Hj. Odhner, Professor Y. Sjostedt and Professor Hj. ?hrvall. Figs. 2-15 were drawnby Miss E. Stenberg, who also kindly put her knowledge of textile technique at my disposal. All the photographs except fig. 21 were taken by Mr G. Mantell. 'l'he investigations of Yhle led to the establishment of seven preColumbian cultural periods. As I have tried to refer the objects found by us to these periods and to compare them with Uhle's descriptions I find it neces~ary to give a briefresume of his papers. ~ortunate1y I was Jl~ver in d~ubt regarding Uhle's opinion, for an lmpo~tant part. of hIS colle.ctlOn, containing many of the objects described ·and figured by him, belongs to the museum of Gothenburg where it was put at my disposal.

I: Primeval period. Represented by a few stone implements to Judge from the descriptions (p. 47) and figures (I . .. .. p. 1-) 0f a• 2 very...
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