Yagashaga is the name of the place now known as Murray Channel, located west of Navarino Island, between the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn. 55°00’00.0″S 68°19’49.7″W

Yagashaga is also the name of the new Terra Ignota project, the geographic continuity of the “Intercultural Contact Zone” research carried out between 2017 and 2024 in the Yendegaia National Park and the continuation of the transdisciplinary study as a way of understanding the territory and the different ways of being interpreted/represented.

Yagashaga, which means Yagán channel, was the heart of the world’s southernmost nomadic canoeing people, who were decimated by diseases such as measles, smallpox and tuberculosis. The area contains many cultural vestiges of their presence that have been little studied, and even less the reflection of the passage of its inhabitants that was imprinted on ecosystems constantly shaped by the extreme climate of the end/beginning of the world.

This project, beyond the non-invasive archaeological work carried out in previous stages, seeks to see heritage as something alive, as an activity that is part of otherness. We are interested in understanding the distinctive and emerging characteristics of these ecosystems and establishing new definitions necessary to understand and relate to nature. This includes conceiving the territory as a space of living culture where humans interacted for thousands of years, a relationship that left and will leave traces, sometimes not so obvious, just as we will leave them for the future. We are also interested in finding methods to monitor changes over time, given the strategic importance of the channel for the imminent colonization of Antarctica, which will alter this important ecocultural system.

This is how we seek to perceive this space as a living archive, a museum piece in situ. Our goal is to recognize that understanding “nature” is only possible through the aggregation of abstractions and subjectivities. Analyzing a territory implies considering experiences, points of view and the various elements that compose it, seen as archives that document ancestral, historical and ecological factors expressed in matter, energy and information, transcending human temporal and comprehension scales.

Emerging Archive
The axis of study is the design of an “emerging archive” that responds to the need for new cartographies that reflect the complexities that integrate territories based on the systematization of knowledge, know-how and sensitivities, with the contribution of transdisciplinarity and the local community.

Emerging archive. It is the quantitative, qualitative and subjective delimitation of elements and relationships that constitute a territory with the purpose of storing, systematizing and representing the knowledge contained therein in terms of matter, energy and information and with time scales ranging from magnitudes of the geological order to the present and the future.

Yagashaga is an investigation, registration and survey of the ecosystemic and cultural heritage through historiographic and ethnographic analysis, archaeological prospecting without intervention and scientific and ecosystemic research.This systematization, which will have Wulaia Bay as its research base, aims to make this channel an open-air laboratory in which new integrated forms of interpretation and holistic analysis of sub-Antarctic coastal ecosystems will be studied. A vertical axis of research will be established on it, which includes from the suboceanic continental plates to the ionized layers of the atmosphere.

Bahia Wulaia
Old radio station

It aims to organize information on geological, ancestral, and historical temporalities along with present data to speculate about the uncertain future of this strategic geopolitical zone. To do so, it is necessary to seek new strategies that include not only the opinion of the community, but also active work in research and the administration of this data permanently over time.

Access routes
The access route has two alternatives, the maritime route accessing from the northeast from the Beagle Channel with a possible stopover in Puerto Navarino and by land, starting from Lum on foot crossing the valley that runs parallel to the channel. The maritime route allows the supply of supplies by means of boats that depend on the weather and availability of transport. The land route is feasible to do in one day, without a load and if a clear path is established (ca. 23km). This would allow the entry and exit of participants independently of the availability of sea transport and almost without dependence on the weather.

At the beginning of this year, Terra Ignota partnered with the Corporación Laguna de Los Cisnes with the aim of combining knowledge, experience, and logistical infrastructure for research purposes. In June of this year, the Corporation acquired a vessel with the ideal characteristics for research in this remote and challenging geographical area. In November, the as-yet-unnamed ship, which docks at Puerto Williams, will be equipped with all the necessary navigation instruments and will be in the process of acquiring funds to transform it into a floating experimental laboratory.

Preliminary visit
In March 2024 we did an initial field trip in order to meet with the local community, partners and friends, to discuss some first ideas and frameworks and to get an idea about the place, logistics (transportation, access routes, etc.).
We visited the Martín Gonzalez Anthropological Museum (formerly Anthropological Museum Martín Gusinde) in Puerto Williams and several important historical sites along the northern coast of Navarino Island.
For a few days we made station at Bahia Mejillones where Claudia Gonzalez welcomed us so hospitably in her family house. We felt very honoured to be able to spend time in this important, historic place.
In several field trips from there we completed our maps and examined a good part of the over land pass from Lum to Bahia Wulaia. During the stay we established a few field transmissions to the radio.earth network, continued experiments within the frame of the Environmental Linguistics approach and other data registering and collection research.


Florencia Curci (AR), Iván Flores (CL), Claudia Gonzalez (CL), Elcira Hernández Walton (CL), Nicolas Spencer (CL/AT)Victor Mazón (ES), Carsten Stabenow (DE), Paula Urdangarín (CL)