Plans to open a fossil park near Chile’s Lake Tagua Tagua

The area has an impressive collection of fossils and artifacts from an early American forage society.

Lake Tagua Tagua is the site of some large archaeological finds. (Photo: fotosmontt - congelando el tiempo/Flickr)
Lake Tagua Tagua is the site of some large archaeological finds. (Photo: fotosmontt - congelando el tiempo/Flickr)

Buried around the shores of Lake Tagua Tagua in Chile’s O’Higgins Region are the fossilized bones of mastodons, horses and American deer, along with the remains of a hunter-gatherer society dating back to 4,180 BC.

One of Chile’s many treasure troves of archaeological wealth, plans are now underway to open up the Tagua Tagua findings by establishing a special interest tourist site.

It is hoped that the proposed fossil park will serve as an attractive point of interest for history buffs visiting the country’s north to see some of the world’s oldest known mummies.

The new attraction would aim to raise the profile of the area’s findings by giving tourists a first-hand experience of the archaeological process, while highlighting the site’s historical importance.

“Lake Tagua Tagua has a long history of important archaeological findings,” Eugenio Aspillaga, an expert in anthropology from the Universidad de Chile, said in a statement.

“It is one of the earliest known settled sites in all of the Americas and as such, it marks an important milestone in human history.”

The project is being led by a strategic alliance made up of the O’Higgins regional government, the regional directorate of the National Tourism Service (Sernatur), the Universidad Austral de Chile and the Innovation Fund for Regional Competitiveness.

The team is currently working on the design of a museum and landscaping features for the park that will transport visitors back in time to a period when the area was populated by hunters and extinct animal species.

“For some years we have been conducting important research to find out how we could demonstrate the powerful tourism appeal of this place to the rest of the world,” said Sernatur’s director for the O’Higgins Region, Alicia Ortiz.

“We now realize that the variety of techniques and findings along with the solid information based on serious research, provide the perfect mix for this type of project.”

It is expected that the design for the fossil park will be completed by mid-2012.