Humans may have reached Chile by 18,500 years ago

If the theory is proven right, this discovery would shake the world of archaeology and the history in terms of the settlement of America.

Fundación Monte Verde
Fundación Monte Verde

For many decades, it was believed that America was first populated about 13,000 years ago by a group of hunters from Asia, also known as the Clovis Culture. Nevertheless, in recent investigations in Monte Verde, southern Chile, archaeologists have found tools that reveal the existence of human settlements that precede the arrival of this old culture.

Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University has been working at Monte Verde since 1977. It was believed that the Clovis people were the first to arrive in America about 13,000 years ago, but Dillehay’s work at Monte Verde helped scientists to push back that date. Now he leads an international team of archaeologists, geologists, and botanists in an archaeological and geological survey in Monte Verde where they found cooking pits with burned and unburned bones and scatters of simple stone tools.

“One of the curious things about it is that unlike what we found before, a significant percentage, about 34 percent, were from non-local materials. Most of them probably come from the coast but some of them probably come from the Andes and maybe even from the other side of the Andes” said Dillehay in a press release. Some of the bones belonged to very large animals that were probably killed and butchered elsewhere around 14,000 to 19,000 years ago.

Many people in the archaeological community have greeted Dillehay’s findings with a certain amount of skepticism, considering that they challenge the widely accepted paradigm for the first humans in America. This way, the new findings have brought up new questions among archaeologists and historians of the world, who are already beginning to rethink the theories until today.

This post is also available in Spanish