Fell's Cave, Chile

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Early cave occupation site in Patagonia near the Straits of Magellan west of Palli Aike in the far south of South America. Excavated by Junius Bird in the 1930s, the cave had a deep layer of debris below which were the remains of an ancient roof‐fall, and below this again further refuse. The lower deposit belonged to the early Magellan Complex and included an assemblage which comprised fishtail points, associated with late Pleistocene fauna such as native horse, sloth, and guanaco. Further excavations in the late 1950s by José Emperaire and Annette Laming‐Emperaire confirmed Bird's record of the stratigraphy and provided dates which assign the lower deposits to the period before 9000 bc. Fell's Cave is thus important as one of the earliest pieces of evidence for the human occupation of southern South America.


J. Emperaire, A. Laming‐Emperaire, and H. Reichlen, 1963, La Grotte Fell et autres sites de la région volcanique de la Patagonie chilienne. Journal de la Société des Américanistes, 52, 167–252;J. Bird, 1938, Before Magellan. Natural History, 41(1), 16–28

Subjects: Archaeology.

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