Study confirms ancient Chile settlement is 14,000 years old
May 8, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Scientists have confirmed that the famed Monte
Verde archaeological site in southern Chile is about 14,000 years old,
making it the earliest known human settlement in the Americas, the journal
Science reported Thursday.
The age of Monte Verde has been the subject of controversy over the
years, since estimates appeared to conflict with other archaeological
evidence related to the settlement of North America.
The new findings support not only the age of the Monte Verde site, but also
the coastal migration theory currently ascribed to by most scholars, which
hypothesizes that people first entered the New World through the Bering
land bridge more than 16,000 years ago.
The study, based on the first data compiled about the Monte Verde site in
about a decade, identified nine species of seaweed and marine algae used
as food by the settlement's inhabitants.
Carbon dating put the age of the seaweed samples at between 13,980 and
14,220 years old, confirming that the site was occupied some 1,000 years
earlier than any other known human settlements in the Americas. The study
appears in the May 9 issue of Science.
Discovered in 1976, Monte Verde is located in a peat bog about 500 miles
(800 kilometers) south of Santiago, Chile.
Researchers say it could have supported between 20 to 30 people in a
dozen huts along a small creek.
A wide variety of food has been found at the site, including extinct species
of llama and an elephant-like animal called a gomphothere, shellfish,
vegetables and nuts.
see Nat'l Geo
Uncontacted tribe photographed near
29 May 2008
Members of one of the world’s last
uncontacted tribes have been spotted
and photographed from the air near the
Brazil-Peru border. The photos were taken
during several flights over one of the
remotest parts of the Amazon rainforest
in Brazil’s Acre state.
‘We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to
show they exist,’ said uncontacted tribes expert José Carlos dos Reis
Meirelles Júnior. Meirelles works for FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s
Indian affairs department. ‘This is very important because there are
some who doubt their existence.’
Meirelles says that the group’s numbers are increasing. But
other uncontacted groups in the region, whose homes have
been photographed from the air, are in severe danger from
illegal logging in Peru. Logging is driving uncontacted tribes over
the border and could lead to conflict with the estimated five hundred
uncontacted Indians already living on the Brazilian side.
‘What is happening in this region [of Peru] is a monumental
crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is
further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we,
the ‘civilised’ ones, treat the world,’ said Meirelles.
There are more than one hundred uncontacted tribes
worldwide, with more than half living in either Brazil or Peru. All
are in grave danger of being forced off their land, killed and
decimated by new diseases. Survival has launched an urgent
campaign to get their land protected, and a unique film narrated
by actress Julie Christie.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘These pictures are
further evidence that uncontacted tribes really do exist. The world
needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in
accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made
For further information please contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20
7687 8734 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Act now to help uncontacted Indians
Please write a letter to Peru’s president asking him to recognise his
country’s isolated Indians’ land rights – and by doing so protect
uncontacted peoples on both sides of the Peru-Brazil border.
Uncontacted Indian tribe found in
The Associated Press
June 1, 2007
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: An Indian
tribe that has had no formal contact
with Western civilization has been
located in a remote Amazon region,
federal authorities said Friday.
The Metyktire tribe, with about 87
members, was found last week in an
area that is difficult to reach because
of thick jungle and a lack of nearby
rivers some 2,000 kilometers (1,200
miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro,
said Mario Moura, a spokesman for
the Federal Indian Bureau, or Funai.
The tribe is a subgroup of the Kayapo
tribe, and lives on its
Menkregnoti Indian reservation, Moura
The Kayapo had no significant contact
with the Metyktire until two tribe
members inexplicably appeared at a
Kayapo village last week, he said.
"We don't know why they decided to
make contact now ... only time will tell.
This is a very slow process," Moura
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killed by crane collapse in New
YorkUncontacted tribes are usually
discovered when loggers and
ranchers encroach on their territories.
Patrick Cunningham of the
London-based Indigenous People's
Cultural Support Trust, which is
involved in an unrelated expedition in
the region, said in an e-mail that the
tribe speaks an archaic version of the
Kayapo language and goes naked.
Like many less-assimilated members
of the Kayapo, the men wear penis
sheaths and several have plates in
their lower lips, he said. The women
shave the tops of their heads.
Cunningham, who has not met the
tribe, said the Kayapo believe it is was
formed by a group of families who fled
deeper into the forest when the
pioneering Indian defender Orlando
Villas Boas appeared in the area in
Megaron Txcucarramae, a Kayapo
Indian and Funai representative in the
region, met with the newly found group
in Kremoro village and banned all but
a medical team from entering or
leaving, fearing the tribe could be
more vulnerable to diseases than the
Kayapo, Cunningham said.
Miriam Ross, a campaigner with the
indigenous rights group Survival
International, estimates there are
more than 100 uncontacted tribes
across the world.
"This proves that often we just don't
know whether these people are there
or not," Ross said by telephone from
About 700,000 Indians live in Brazil,
mostly in the Amazon region. Some
400,000 live on reservations where
they try to maintain their traditional
culture, language and lifestyle.
Indians were pushed deeper into the
jungle by settlers and it is relatively
uncommon for the Indian Bureau to
come across previously uncontacted
native groups. The bureau said that it
has learned from other Indians of a
few uncontacted tribes in the western
Amazon state, where the region's
jungle is thickest.
Moura said anthropologists no longer
attempt to contact those groups, but
instead demarcate the land and wait
for them to make contact.
The outfit that released
the photos, Survival
International, works to end
illegal logging in the
rainforest in order to
protect the uncontacted
tribes living there. They
estimate that 100
uncontacted groups exist
worldwide, about half of
them in the Amazon basin.
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