Archaeological report

1. Background

Early Settlement in Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego region, located in the extreme south of South America, has been the subject of archaeological studies to understand the early settlement of this inhospitable and fascinating area. Archaeological findings and advances in radiocarbon dating have revealed the existence of a land bridge in the Strait of Magellan, which connected the continent with Tierra del Fuego between 13,000 and 10,000 years BP2 (Before Present) (R. D. McCulloch et al., 2005; R. McCulloch et al., 2009; Ponce et al., 2011).

There is a general consensus among researchers that the initial waves of terrestrial settlement reached the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego via the mentioned route in the strait. The earliest radiocarbon dating indicates an approximate age of 10,600 years BP based on samples from the Tres Arroyos site. Another early site, which has provided valuable archaeological evidence, is the Marazzi site, located southeast of present-day Bahía Inútil, dating back to 9590 years BP (Laming-Emperaire et al., 1972; Morello et al., 1999; Salemme et al., 2017). Both sites are representative of the earliest hunter-gatherer human communities that settled in Tierra del Fuego and successfully adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of the area.

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