Pre-Historic Humans in the Falkland Islands

Humans may have occupied the Falkland Islands long before Europeans arrived, new research suggests.

Researchers from the University of Maine sampled peat deposits and analysed bone piles from various locations around the Islands, which suggested pre-historic human activity.

An illustration of a Falklands Warrah - a fox like creature
An illustration of a Falklands Warrah

And it is thought that these early arrivals bought animals with them – what could have been the now-extinct warrah.

Three locations were chosen to take samples from – New Island, Bleaker Islands and Mount Usborne – and charcoal levels in the peat were analysed.

Mount Usborne was chosen as a control site as it was thought unlikely humans would have used that land, whereas the islands had features suitable for human use. The records at Mount Usborne and Bleaker Island were fairly consistent. However on New Island there were dramatic increases in charcoal that can be dated to a number of different points – suggesting the likelihood of humans setting fires.

The evidence found on New Island points towards these early arrivals being the Yagan people from Tierra del Feugo.

We spoke to Kit Hamley and Jacquelyn Gill to find out more.

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