Programmes > Par auteur > Fariña Richard A.

Arroyo del Vizcaíno: strengths and weaknesses of a very old site in southern South America
Richard A. Fariña  1, *@  
1 : Departamento de Paleontología Facultad de Ciencias
Iguá 4225 11400 Montevideo, Uruguay -  Uruguay
* : Auteur correspondant

Found during a severe drought in the summer of 1997 in the bottom of a stream, the site of Arroyo del Vizcaíno (AdV), near the town of Sauce, Uruguay, has yielded over 1600 fossil remains (mostly belonging to the giant sloth Lestodon armatus but also from other Pleistocene megamammals). About 60 of them show marks with features compatible with human agency. This is congruent with other lines of evidence, such as other modifications of the bones, the mortality profile and the anatomical regions represented, among others. Since the dates obtained from radiocarbon and luminiscent analyses cluster about ca. 30 kybp, the possibility of human presence at such an old age and so far south as 34º S latitude challenges currently most accepted models of human dispersal in the Americas, although joins other proposed pre-LGM sites (Monteverde in Southern Chile, Toca do Boqueirão da Pedra Furada and Toca do Sítio do Meio in Brazil, etc.), including the very unexpectedly old site of Cerruti Mastodon in the USA. Here the AdV site is presented, the difficulties for its excavation posed by its geographical circumstances are explained, its strengths and weaknesses as an archaeological site are discussed and its importance as a local and national cultural phenomenon is stated.

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