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PLoS One. 2015 Nov 18;10(11):e0141923. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141923. eCollection 2015.

New Archaeological Evidence for an Early Human Presence at Monte Verde, Chile.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
2
Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
3
Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Chile.
4
Fundación Wulaia y Sociedad Chilena de Arqueología, Santiago, Chile.
5
Departamento de Geologia Sedimentar e Ambiental, Instituto de Geociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.
6
Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
7
Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, United States of America.
8
PaleoResearch Institute, Inc., Golden, Colorado, United States of America.
9
Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.
10
Observatório Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
11
Departamento de Geofísica, Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.
12
Oficina Técnica, Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria, Puerto Montt, Chile.
13
Facultad de Estudios del Patrimonio Cultural y Educación, Universidad SEKA, Santiago, Chile.
14
Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Questions surrounding the chronology, place, and character of the initial human colonization of the Americas are a long-standing focus of debate. Interdisciplinary debate continues over the timing of entry, the rapidity and direction of dispersion, the variety of human responses to diverse habitats, the criteria for evaluating the validity of early sites, and the differences and similarities between colonization in North and South America. Despite recent advances in our understanding of these issues, archaeology still faces challenges in defining interdisciplinary research problems, assessing the reliability of the data, and applying new interpretative models. As the debates and challenges continue, new studies take place and previous research reexamined. Here we discuss recent exploratory excavation at and interdisciplinary data from the Monte Verde area in Chile to further our understanding of the first peopling of the Americas. New evidence of stone artifacts, faunal remains, and burned areas suggests discrete horizons of ephemeral human activity in a sandur plain setting radiocarbon and luminescence dated between at least ~18,500 and 14,500 cal BP. Based on multiple lines of evidence, including sedimentary proxies and artifact analysis, we present the probable anthropogenic origins and wider implications of this evidence. In a non-glacial cold climate environment of the south-central Andes, which is challenging for human occupation and for the preservation of hunter-gatherer sites, these horizons provide insight into an earlier context of late Pleistocene human behavior in northern Patagonia.

PMID:
26580202
PMCID:
PMC4651426
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0141923
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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