The burial found at Patapatane Cave in the highlands of Arica, northern Chile, yielded an incomplete skeleton of a 20-to-23-year-old female, dating to the end of the Middle Archaic period at 5910 ± 90 B.P. The site is located in a semiarid environment on the eastern side of Sierra de Huaylillas at 3800 m. in the hinterland of Arica, northern Chile. We argue that the missing bones, position of the cranium, and breakage of some elements resulted from both postdepositional human intervention and taphonomic processes. The body was laid to rest in a supine position and after it became skeletonized hunters revisited the inhumation and removed some bone elements. However, the other bones present in situ were not displaced and remained in proper anatomical position, with the exception of the cranium, which was placed vertically on top of the cervical vertebrae. The observed breakage of vertebrae, long bones, and skull seems to have been the result of taphonomic, nonanthropogenic, postburial actions. In reporting on the Patapatane burial, Archaic period funerary patterns from western South America are reviewed to support the notion that early hunters and gatherers systematically manipulated their dead through perimortem and postmortem alterations. These included several processes: (1) processes of body reduction and transformation by removal of body sections or removal of bone elements, cremation, and human remains discarded in domestic middens; and (2) processes of artificial preservation of the dead that included roasting, salting, and artificial mummification. In addition, we recognize the simultaneous existence of intact primary burial and that other skeletons were possibly altered accidentally by postdepositional natural or cultural agents.