Located just ten kilometers outside of San Pedro de Atacama, the ruin of this small pre-Columbian village gives a small glimpse into the past. The village is thought to have existed about 3,000 years ago with a population between 150 and 200 inhabitants. The people first came to the area as hunters following animals down from the Andes. When the animals became scarce, they turned to gathering their food and eventually began rudimentary farming. They spent their time in textile and ceramic production while supporting themselves with agriculture and livestock.
They constructed their adobe buildings in a circular fashion, joined one to the other with patios and passageways. The rooms were built with an arched ceiling that sometimes reached as high as two meters, finished off by a conical roof supported by wooden poles. The village was lost to the sands of time. The museum at the site has reconstructed the homes along the lines of the originals. Fortunately, there is a viewpoint that allows visitors to view the ruins from above to see this unusual formation.
Aldea means ‘meeting place’ and here peoples from varying groups joined together for survival. If you look at the diagram you can see that while most of the ruins were built in a circular fashion, some were more rectangular and it is thought that this demonstrates the influence of different cultures in the region.