Cambridge Catalogue  
  • Help
Home > Catalogue > Monuments, Empires, and Resistance
Monuments, Empires, and Resistance
Google Book Search

Search this book


  • Page extent: 506 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.04 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 983/.0049872
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: F3126 .D57 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Mapuche Indians--History
    • Mapuche Indians--Wars
    • Mapuche Indians--Social life and customs
    • Mounds--Chile--Araucani╠üa
    • Spain--Colonies--America

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521872621)


From 1550 to 1850, the Araucanian polity in southern Chile was a center of political resistance to the intruding Spanish empire. In this book, Tom D. Dillehay examines the resistance strategies of the Araucanians and how they incorporated Andean knowledge and used mounds and other sacred monuments to reorganize their political and cultural life in order to unite against the Spanish. Drawing on anthropological research conducted over three decades, Dillehay focuses on the development of leadership, shamanism, ritual landscapes, and power relations, and on how healing ceremonies performed at actively used mounds today give meaning to the past and reveal the social and cosmological principles by which the Araucanians have organized their society. His study combines recent developments in social theory with the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical records. Both theoretically and empirically informed, this book is a fascinating account of an indigenous ethnic group that successfully resisted outsiders for more than three centuries and flourished under these conditions.

   Monuments, Empires, and Resistance is an indispensable text for all archaeologists interested in the social, ideological, and demographic processes that construct and maintain mound building and mound worship in the past. This book details for the first time ethnographic ritual narratives that reveal the kin relations between mounds and living shamans. Dillehay illuminates these complex processes and the changing consciousness of the people who built and live with the mounds.

Tom D. Dillehay is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. He has conducted extensive anthropological research in Peru, Chile, and the United States. He has published extensively in both English and Spanish. He is the author of several books, including The Settlement of the Americas: A New Prehistory, and the editor of Tombs for Living: Andean Mortuary Practices and has been a visiting professor at more than fifteen universities worldwide.


Cambridge Studies in Archaeology aims to showcase the very best in contemporary archaeological scholarship. Reflecting the wide diversity and vigour of archaeology as an intellectual discipline, the series covers all regions of the world and embraces all major theoretical and methodological approaches. Designed to be empirically grounded and theoretically aware, and including both single-authored and collaborative volumes, the series is arranged around four highlighted strands:

•Classical Archaeology
•Medieval Archaeology
•Historical Archaeology

Titles in series
The Archaeology of Class in Urban America
Stephen A. Mrozowski
Archaeology, Society, and Identity in Modern Japan
Koji Mizoguchi
Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain
Howard Williams



Vanderbilt University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA
Information on this title:

© Tom D. Dillehay 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Dillehay, Tom D.
Monuments, empires, and resistance : the Araucanian polity and ritual narratives / Tom D. Dillehay.
p. cm. – (Cambridge studies in archaeology)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-87262-1 (hardback)
ISBN-10: 0-521-87262-6 (hardback)
1. Mapuche Indians – History. 2. Mapuche Indians – Wars. 3. Mapuche Indians – Social life and
customs. 4. Mounds – Chile – Araucanma. 5. Spain – Colonies – America. 6. Araucanma
(Chile) – History. 7. Araucanma (Chile) – Social life and customs. 8. Chile – History
– 1565–1810. I. Title. II. Series.
F3126.D57 2007
983ʹ.0049872 – dc22      2006027844

ISBN 978-0-521-87262-1 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.



List of Figures page xiii
Preface xvii
Thematic Organization of the Book 11
Setting the Historical Background: Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries 24
Scholarly Research 28
The Archaeology of Mound Building 28
Ethnohistory and the Araucanian Estado 30
Ethnography and Sacred Geographies 38
Mound building 38
Uniting the Archaeological and Textual Past and the Ethnographic Present 40
The Utopic Polity 45
Epilogue 51
Analogical Reasoning 56
Concepts Useful to Understanding the Araucanian Case 66
Approaches to Space, Place, and Landscape 75
Ritual Healing Narratives and Recollective Memories 77
Conclusion 80
Previous Ideas about Araucanian History and Identity 84
Archaeological Voices 91
First Mound Encounters 93
Archaeological Evidence for the Origins of Araucanian Culture 96
Becoming Andean: Andean, Inka, and Araucanian Interaction 98
Ethnohistorical Voice 115
Political and Demographic Configurations 126
Linking Kuel Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Ethnography 139
Conclusions 150
Ancestral Knowledge and Tradition 155
Space and Religion as Knowledge 156
Illness, Death, and Therapeutic Places 157
Ancestors and Deities 158
Conjunction of Ethereal and Physical Spaces 161
Machi Shamans: Mediators of Ancestral Knowledge and Healing Experience 167
Concepts of Time, Space, Creation Narratives, and Knowledge 171
The Ceremonial Meeting of Wenumapu and Nag Mapu Worlds 178
Awün (Awn) 180
Winkulkueltun and Kueltun 182
Nguillatun 182
The Cherquenco Nguillatun 183
Internal Layout and Activity Structure of Nguillatun Space 186
Spatiality of Ritual Intercessors: Nguillatufe and Machi 188
Iconographic Symbols of Ritual Spaces 194
Natural Symbolism and Ecological Trophic Order 194
Continuity from Past to Present in Rehue, Kuel, Rehuekuel, and Nguillatun Fields 198
Andean Continuity in Ceremonial Space as Embedded in the Trophic Socio-spatial Order 206
Cosmunities and Conclusions 211
With José Saavedra
Ethnographic Teachings 216
Naming and Knowing Kuel 217
Kuel Functions 224
The Priestly Shaman or Machi and the Kuel: Exchanging Identities and Transposing Histories 229
The Hualonkokuel Llaimatun and Lonkotun Rituals 234
TrenTrenkuel Narrative 244
Postceremony Conversations with Machi Juanita and Lucinda 257
Ethnographic Descriptions by Other Informants 261
Analytical Meaning and Perspective 267
Kuel, Machi, and the Spirit World 270
Knowledge, Kuel, and Mound Literacy or Nauchi 272
General Archaeological Objectives, Methods, and Findings to Date 276
Kuel and Rehuekuel 279
Domestic Sites 300
Agricultural Canals and Raised Fields 302
Fortresses 303
Population Estimates 304
Settlement and Other Patterns 306
Summary and Discussion 311
Archeological Insights Derived from Ethnography 00
Analytical Perspectives on Araucanian Monumentalism 318
History, Landscape, and Meaning 320
Volcanoes, Mountains, Mounds, Nodalities, and Topographic Pathways 321
Bounded and Holistic Monumentalism 325
Analytical Classification of Araucanian Monuments 327
Discussion 329
Indigenous Political and Religious Structures: Leaders and Venues 337
Power Venues and Leadership Action 345
Political Effects of Population Fragmentation: Recruitment and Annexation 354
Lasting Outcomes of Recruitment and Adoption: Compatriotism, Political Unity, and Ritual Feasting 360
Reflections 364
Epilogue 368
Becoming Andean and Inka 373
Spatializing Gatherings at and between Rehuekuel for Ayllarehue 375
Nauchi: Mound Literacy and the Social Working of Rehuekuel 381
Identities, Compatriots, and Ayllarehue 386
Memory and Perpetuity 391
Back to the Future: The Confederated Utopic Locality – a Heterotopic Entity 394
A Wide-Angle View of Mounds 402
Effective Recursiveness 406
Timelessness of Mapuche Landscapes 408
Appendix One: Ethnographic Ritual Narratives at Hualonkokuel and Trentrenkuel 411
Appendix Two: Radiocarbon Dates and Thermoluminescence Dates 465
References Cited 469
Index 481


1 View of the Rehueñichikuel mound in Butarincón surrounded by a nguillatun ceremonial field. page 3
2 TrenTrenkuel and ñichi platform in Isla de Katrileo and Butarincón. 16
3 Schematic representation of the Araucanian’s terms for rehuekuel. 17
4 Map showing the study area south of the Bio Bio River. 19
5 Areas controlled by the Inka state and culturally influenced by Araucanian polity. 33
6 Map of the sixteenth-century extent of the Araucanian polity and their later influence on locations of indigenous groups in Argentina. 35
7 Geographical distribution of isolated and clustered mound cultures in the Araucania. 37
8 View of the Maicoyakuel with ñichi platform in the Purén Valley. 95
9 Nguillatun field at Hualonkokuel including the shaman’s rehue pole and the “sick” mound that needed curing. 95
10 Aerial view of the Rehueñichikuel showing the ñichi platform, rehuekuel, and borrow pits. 97
11 Informal and formal frontiers of the Inka state in south-central Chile. 101
12 Polychrome ceramics types showing probable Inka influence. 103
13 a. Location of the sacred Wenucolla mountain; b. closeup of Wenucolla. 108
14 The “usnan” located on the summit of Wenucolla. 109
15 Stone-walled terraces at Wenucolla. 110
16 A sacred rehue pole with a sheepskin draped across the top. 111
17 Location of the estado and the study area. 122
18 The impenetrable wetlands or ciénegas of Purén in the winter. 123
19 A hillcrest mound and associated habitation site in the Purén Valley. 127
20 A nineteenth-century cemetery site showing chemamüll and a machi. 142
21 Unnamed kuel and rehuekuel near Pucón. Used today for nguillatun ceremonies based on its kuifilkuel. 143
22 Plan of the Ñachekuel nguillatun field in Rucalleco showing logistical applications of the land, people, and trash allocation. 145
23 Thatched ruka house in Lumaco. 151
24 Schematic of the Araucanian upper and lower cosmological world. 162
25 Schematic of the cardinal directions of the cosmological world and the movements of dance and ritual during the nguillatun. 163
26 Schematic of the cardinal directions of the internal and external space within and around kuel mound. 165
27 Wooden chemamüll ancestral statues near Pircunche. 175
28 View of the flattened used area and trail passages on top of the TrenTrenkuel mound in Butarincón. 177
29 View of the KaiKai hill and its series of small mounds. 179
30 Nguillatun ceremony near Lumaco in 1981. 183
31 Schematic representation of the nguillatun field. 184
32 Ñachekuel mound showing the spiraling footpath used by shamans during ceremony. 185
33 Individual ruca and family seating places in the nguillatun field. 186
34 View of a rehue pole in the central plaza of a nguillatun field. 187
35 Spatial layout of the nguillatun field near Cherquenco. 189
36 View of a rehue pole in a nguillatun field. 190
37 Faces, representing male and female ancestral figures, are painted on a rehue chemamüll near Cherquenco, Malleco. 190
38 Stepped diamond design motif on the ponchos of secular lonko leaders. 191
39 Schematic representation of cardinal directions on the kultrun. 193
40 Machi playing the kultrun prior to climbing the rehue pole. 193
41 Schematic of the settlement and seating pattern of families and lineages in the nguillatun field. 195
42 View of Rehueñichikuel in 1984 showing forest cover cut back. 205
43 The Chavin Tello Obelisk modified from Rowe (1967). 207
44 Mapuche stone implement with snake and other reptile motifs. 211
45 General view of Hualonkokuel and the nguillatun in its plaza. 218
46 General view of TrenTrenkuel and its ñichi platform. 219
47 Map and location of the named kuel in this chapter. These mounds are referred to as offsprings of TrenTrenkuel. 221
48 Profile of the north excavated wall of TrenTrenkuel showing the burned floor and blue clay floor. 235
49 General location map of various sites in Purén and Lumaco Valley. 279
50 The majority of large mound complexes are located in Butarincón. 282
51 Aerial view of Maicoyakuel, accompanying mounds, plaza, and nearby domestic sites. 283
52 Aerial view of Ñachekuel and nguillatun field. 285
53 Topographical and three-dimensional view of Ñachekuel and its ñichi platform. 286
54 Topographical and three-dimensional maps of TrenTrenkuel. 287
55 Ritual sight lines from Wenucolla to Andean volcanoes where the deity Pillan resides. 288
56 General view from Huitranlehue and the sacred lagoon to TrenTrenkuel. 289
57 Topographical and three-dimensional maps of Huitranlebukuel. 290
58 General view of Rapahuekuel, Mound A. 291
59 Topographic and three-dimensional maps of Rapahuekuel. 292
60 Topographic and three-dimensional maps of Kuifilkuel. 293
61 Topographical and three-dimensional maps of Maicoyakuel. 294
62 View of Lolonkokuel. 295
63 Topographic and three-dimensional maps of Lolonkokuel. 296
64 Topographical and three-dimensional maps of Scheelkuel. 297
65 Topographical and three-dimensional maps of Hualonkokuel. 299
66 Excavated ovens outside of a ruca house in PV-165. 301
67 View of a late pre-Hispanic to early Hispanic canal near Butarincón. 303
68 Channelized field and raised field near Butarincón. 304
69 Raised fields along the Pacific coast west of the Purén Valley. 305
70 Closeup of raised fields in backwater estuaries. 306
71 Deep moat associated with a hillside fortress near Rapahuekuel. 307
72 Schematic of the active topographic pathways and nguillatun directions across the valley. 319
73 View of volcanoes in the Andean mountains to the east, from which kuel are said to take their form. 322
74 Plan of participation of three nguillatun (after Stuchlik 1976:160). 340
75 Schematic representation of intermarrying lineages and ritual congregations in the 1950s (after Faron 1964:110). 341


uch of the data in this book come in the form of archaeological research, ethnohistorical documentation, and ethnographical recordings and observations. For more than thirty years, I have participated in many different ritual ceremonies and other events in many different Araucanian, or Mapuche, communities, always examining the living behavior from the perspective of their spatial, material, and symbolic correlates. The Mapuche are not partial to interviews and prefer a non-interventionist style of fieldwork where they offered information when they thought that my colleagues and I were ready to receive it or needed to be corrected. My language skills in Mapundungun are barely sufficient for understanding the conversation at hand during daily life but certainly not proficient to understand the often archaic intonations and nuances of shamanic speech and chant in ceremony. Most interviews and rituals were tape recorded when we were given permission. A native speaker, Maria Catrileo, translated the tapes from Mapundungun to Spanish. For much of the material, I assisted in the translation of many words and phrases, now having become somewhat proficient in the ritual language. The majority of the Spanish texts, especially those from the early chroniclers, were translated by Patricia Netherly. Others were translated by other colleagues and by me. Netherly also edited these translations in order to derive a similar style.

   Although the research themes examined in these pages encompass several centuries and primarily one river valley, the impetus for this book comes from my experiences in almost all parts of the Araucanian territory. Much of this research was carried out in a time when a different Chile existed. Today, people arrive to ski on the high slopes of the Andes, to bathe in the hundreds of thermal baths flowing from the Andean foothills, and to enjoy good seafood and wine. I know and have a deep passion for this Chile. But there was another Chile, one engulfed in political turmoil and ruled by the Pinochet dictatorship (see Ensalaco 2000) when I began my studies in early 1975. It was a time of toque de queda (curfew) when the side of the street you walked on identified the side of political life you affiliated with and when people disappeared and were never heard from again. During these years in the mid to late 1970s, I was writing my dissertation and teaching first at the Pontíficia Universidad Católica de Temuco and later at the Universidad Austral de Chile. I still am a professor at the latter institution.

   In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s during the Pinochet regime, I occasionally witnessed unpleasant conflicts between the military and some Mapuche communities over land and resources. I have commented both privately and publicly about some of these experiences. In addition to stories and tales about mounds and other themes of historical and archaeological interest, informants told me about desaparecidos and armed conflicts. Therefore, I have not listed all informants I worked with over the past three decades in accordance with their wishes, in order to protect those who confided in me during the years of my research and to prevent the use of informant knowledge beyond the anthropological community.

   This book has benefited from its long gestation. Parts of it were begun in the mid-1990s, initially supported by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, Fulbright Commission, National Geographic Society, Pontíficia Universidad Católica de Temuco, and Universidad Austral de Chile; later by the Heinz Foundation, John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation, Vanderbilt University, and National Science Foundation; and always by the University of Kentucky. I would like to thank numerous colleagues over the years for their help as sounding boards and valuable sources of information: José Saavedra, Patricio Sanzana, Arturo Rojas, Gaston Sepulveda, Mario Pino, Teresa Durán, Leonor Adan, Rolf Foerster, Carlos Ocampo, Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, Hans Gundermann, René San Martin, Ximena Navarro, Alejandro Saavedra, Maria Ester Grebe, José Manuel Zavala, Raul Ortiz, Gerson Levy, Tim Earle, Ian Hodder, Richard Bradley, David Pollack, Gwynn Henderson, William Adams, and Kenneth Hirth. Special gratitude is given to the late Alberto Medina, an ethnohistorian and professor at the Universidad de Chile and to the late Américo Gordon, who was a good archaeologist, a connoisseur of Mapuche culture, and a dear friend. Américo and I spent many informative days together in the field and had many relaxed conversations in his home in Temuco. This book is dedicated to him.

   There are countless people who have worked closely with me in the field since I first went to Chile: Mario Pino, José Saavedra, Patricio Sanzana, Gaston Sepulveda, Américo Gordon, Ximena Navarro, Arturo Rojas, and René San Martin. All of these colleagues are good friends. We have spent many enjoyable times in the field. Also included in this group are hundreds of Mapuche workers and informants from many different areas in south-central Chile and students from various universities worldwide. Comments on a draft of this manuscript by Patricia Netherly, José Bengoa, Norman Yoffee, José Manuel Zavala, and Gerardo Ardila helped me strengthen the final version. José Saavedra and Arturo Rojas provided comments on the ethnography chapters, and José Manuel Zavala read and reviewed the ethnohistory chapter. Ashley Colby Parrott and Paige Silcox provided excellent technical support. Special thanks also are extended to four anonymous readers for Cambridge University Press, who provided invaluable comments and suggestions. I also would like to thank Simon Whitmore and Beatrice Rehl at Cambridge University Press, for all of their help and encouragement. Thanks also are extended to Mary Paden and Lee A. Young for their editorial advice. A special gratitude is extended to José Saavedra who has spent more time in the field with me in Chile than anyone else listed here. José collected a substantial portion of the ethnographic data with me. He has been a loyal friend and colleague. I also thank my wife, Dana Nelson, for her invaluable support, advice, and companionship. Lastly, to thank the Mapuche seems somewhat lame, as without them this book could not have been written. Their patience, encouragement, influence, and friendship not only affected me while I lived in and have continued to carry out research in Chile but have taught me the importance of indigenous struggles and of questioning received anthropological wisdom.

printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis