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

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(11):e0141923 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0141923

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML

 

AUTHORS

Tom D Dillehay
Carlos Ocampo
José Saavedra
Andre Oliveira Sawakuchi
Rodrigo M Vega
Mario Pino
Michael B Collins
Linda Scott Cummings
Iván Arregui
Ximena S Villagran
Gelvam A Hartmann
Mauricio Mella
Andrea González
George Dix

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

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Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

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.