Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textile Society of America 2014 Biennial Symposium Proceedings: New Directions: Examining the Past, Creating the Future, Los Angeles, California, September 10–14, 2014,


Copyright 2014 by the author(s).


From San Pedro de Atacama, Chile we examine the alleged relationship with Tiwanaku. Our investigation focuses on elaborate and plain textiles with associated ceramics and recent bio-archaeological data that allow us to question this relationship. We see a heterogeneous and unequal society in San Pedro rather than one that responds to a superior political entity and a culture born from a strong tension between dominant and subordinate groups. Discussing the funeral bundles discovered in Solcor-3 we characterize individuals who wear Tiwanaku textiles with their contextual associations and compare them to others who do not wear such textiles. Solcor-3 presents contexts with textiles of the styles of both Tiwanaku Provincial and Tiwanaku where stylish clothes indicate prestige goods within a local context. It appears that some individuals constitute a privileged group who maintain special relationships with others who moved these objects. The conclusions have lead us to understand that San Pedro society was living with strong tension and internal conflicts that emerged through some members who had long distance contacts and access to foreign resources. These data suggest two expressions of the same male power of shamans and caravanners, expressions that gestated for centuries creating what we know archaeologically as Culture San Pedro, but that says little about their daily lives. This vision denied the participation of other actors, such as women and people without exceptional offerings, all those who disappear in statistical calculations. The recognition of all actors who participated in the history of San Pedro will improve our understanding of local society and will help us to explain the change that occurred at the end of the Middle Period around 900 AD, which led to the Late Intermediate Period.