ATACAMENAN, an independent linguistic stock of South American Indians, formerly occupying the coastal region and western slope of the Andes in the Chilean provinces of Tarapaca and Antofagasta. Some authorities believe that in the latter prov ince they extended eastwards into the Puna de Atacama. The culture of the Atacamenas was relatively simple, but apparently had some similarities with that of the adjacent high plateaux of southern Bolivia. Except for a small remnant in the vicinity of S. Pedro de Atacama, the Atacamenas appear to be practically extinct. Uhle's excavations in the region just north of Tarapaca reveal sites regarded by him as Atacamenan, deep pit graves con taining flexed burials associated with coiled basketry, textiles and rather coarse red pottery with decorations derived largely from the older cultures of the Bolivian plateau.
See G. de Crequi-Montfort, Fouilles dans la necropole prehispanique de Calama; Les anciens Atacamas (xiv. Congress of Americanists, pp. 551-565 ; M. Uhle, La arqueologia de Arica y Tacna (Bol. Soc. Ecuatoriana de Historia, vol. iii., pp. .