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Uruguay 2019

I was invited by Rafael Suarez to return to Uruguay in 2019 to continue our research into raw material sources and the technologies of the earliest known human occupations of the area, specifically the Fishtail and Tigre archaeological cultures.  Beginning the first week in March the trip began by examining some of the archaeological collections in the National Museum in Montevideo.  There I met Dr.  Cobgero (Calolo) Santoro and Katherine Herrera, both from Chile, who accompanied us on a 10 day road trip to stone sources and sites.

On day one we drove north north-west to the town of Guichon.  On the way we stopped and hiked into a series of caves and shelters we found and Rafael tested last year (see        ).  It was a long hike and a hot day.   We stayed three nights in a holiday house at a developed thermal hot spring (Termas del Almiron).  

On the second day we visited another of the mesas that stretch across the area.  This one is known as Cerro San Patricio, in which is n impressive cave known as Tigre. Cerro is adjacent to a nature reserve that is preserving the native plans and animals.  It contains the low areas but curiously, and unfortunately, doesn't extend up onto the cerro.  The cave is again in silicified limestone.  It has three entrances, two of which allow access.  The third is a bit narrow for us.  The cave is about 50 meters long and 15 meters deep.  The front has a drainage but the rest is nearly filled with dry sediment.  The cave is also home to a colony of vampire bats, a portion of which were home when we visited. There was a fresh blood (probably cow or horse) stain on one of the rocks.  There is a substantial accumulation of guano in some areas.  So far thee is no evidence that the cave was used by people but there is potential.  The logistics of test excavating it would be challenging.  We then worked our way up onto the top of the cerro and collected a few samples of the silicified limestone to use in our replication experiments.  We gathered some on the way back to the car as well.  A large thunder storm developed around us but we managed to avoid them.  The gravel road back to our accommodation was long and rough in places.

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