BUENOS AIRES – The history of Argentina’s capital will need some revision if fragments of ceramic vessels, arrowheads and animal bones found by Argentine and Spanish archaeologists in southern Buenos Aires turn out to be as old as they seem.
“We found the remains of a village,” Daniel Schavelzon told EFE.
The Universidad de Buenos Aires archaeologist was part of a team that included experts from Spain’s Universidad del Pais Vasco.
He said the marks left by posts driven deep into the ground indicate the original inhabitants “were not nomads who came and went,” contrary to the accounts given in the chronicles of the first Spanish expeditions to reach the Buenos Aires region in the 16th century.
Decorative features on the ceramic pieces led the archaeologists to estimate that the settlement dates from the 12th century.
The absence of objects of European origin was the first clue that the settlement predated the Spanish conquest, Schavelzon said.
That realization also prompted a reorientation of the project, whose original aim was to find traces of the outpost Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza established in Buenos Aires in 1536.
“We never thought there were inhabitants before” the arrival of the Spanish, Schavelzon said.
The team has yet to determine whether the settlers were part of the Querandi, the name given by Ulrico Schmidl, a member of Mendoza’s expedition, to the people encountered on the southern shore of the River Plate.