Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textiles as Cultural Expressions: Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 24–27, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii


Copyright 2008 by the author.



Due to the short distance between the Pacific Ocean and the highest point of the Andes, the area of Arica has been for millennia a frequently used passageway for human groups going between the coast, the valleys, the sierra, the highland and the eastern side of the Andes. (People also moved from north to south along the coastal border.) The Azapa Valley was probably one of the natural roads and several pre-Hispanic archaeological sites are located at the base of the hillsides.

The Formative Period in this area presents two stages: the Early Formative Period (1100-560 BC) (Santoro 1980); and the Late Formative Period (500 BC-600 AD). The Early Formative Period is represented by the sites Azapa 71 (Fase Azapa); and Azapa 14, with textiles – mats and loincloths –mainly made from vegetal fibers. There were also some wool twining blankets, fragments of single or double looping and a thin, child’s headband made with sprang technique.

The coastal sites of Faldas del Morro, Morro-2 and El Laucho, PLM-7 (Focacci 1972) seem to be nearest to the Late Formative Period, judging by the dyed wool weaving using yellow, blue and red stripes. Also the blue belt made with sprang technique found in the coast, El Laucho is very similar to one found in the Valley (Az-70).