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Australian Archaeology

Just imagine a Society, that stable, that it had continued for 60,000 years through times of drought, flood, warfare and fire with very little change.

That society would've been either a dictatorship or at the zenith of equilibrium.

Then add over three hundred languages, and two hundred dialects just to confuse the issue.

I've noticed that there are varied schools of thought concerning the perception of what Aboriginal Society has/had attained, due to the community that you move through.

Some have seen First Nation as basically paeleolithic, while others see First Nation as the best combination of Agrarian/Hunter Gatherer society.

Personally, I reckon that these Old Ones found the perfect balance of 'each according to their capabilities, each according to their needs'...without the 'Baal Gammon' of communism.

I have hardback editions of the 4 books of the 'Records of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem land (Melbourne University Press)', where a mob of anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists, ethnologist and linguists lived in the scrub of Anhem Land for six months with a number of different 'Mobs', recording the Daily lives and goings on of a group of people who chose not to live as others did.

And there in black and white is shown the gathering of seed to process flour to make bread, and the consequent reseeding of the biggest seed back into that same area. There are many mentions of the harvesting of fruits and yams, and the replanting of seeds and runners from this tucker to promote intended regrowth.

Then there was the seasonal hunting of animals when there was knowledge that there were no young involved in the hunt...no catching of gravid reptiles, no harvesting of greens or other vegetables prior to seed set and dispersal.

All in all a great insight into what Aboriginal Life has been for thousands of years.

Now...it seems the problem with this Author and His Work is His claims that he is a member of The First Nation, and through this, This Fullas compilation of Fact is being discredited. Never mind that all that He writes about is self evident if you look where Mr Pascoe is pointing.

Anyway, I reckon that His book is worth a read because it can give an insight into how we all did live at one time...and how far we've fallen.
 
Revealing the secrets and finding buried artefacts.

Unveiling the sacred Wiradjuri carved trees​


Unveiling the sacred Wiradjuri carved trees


Top to bottom, and left to right: photographs of TSR carved tree, TSR carved tree detail, TSR fallen scarred tree, Yuranigh’s Grave Carved Tree 4, Yuranigh’s Grave Carved Tree 1 detail (with inset image showing carved tree from afar). Credit: Australian Archaeology (2023). DOI: 10.1080/03122417.2023.2219378

In a landmark collaboration between Wiradjuri people, NSW State government and archaeologists, new research has revealed the deep-time hidden story of Wiradjuri carved trees (marara) and burials (dhabuganha) in Southeast Australia.

Led by a collaborative effort between Central Tablelands Local Land Services, Gaanha-bula Action Group, Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council, Yarrawula Ngullubul Men's Corporation, La Trobe University, and the University of Denver in the U.S., this project has brought together Wiradjuri traditional cultural knowledge and cutting-edge archaeological techniques of ground-penetrating radar and 3D modeling, to shed light on these sacred locations.

The research, published in Australian Archaeology, uncovered a new understanding of the locations of marara and dhabuganha, ensuring long-term protection and management of these locations, and assisted with the repatriation and reburial of Ancestors who were removed from these locations and others without consent.

Today, only a small number of marara remain, and most dhabuganha are no longer visible due to erosion and modern land-use practices. Using ground-penetrating radar at one location, the teams were able to non-invasively analyze and map changes in soil to refine the understanding of the resting place of a Wiradjuri man of high-standing.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services Aboriginal Communities Officer Greg Ingram welcomed the discovery.

"This has been an exciting opportunity and partnership for an Aboriginal led science project with the Wiradjuri Elders directing western science to support their existing cultural knowledge of the landscape and funeral practices where the cultural indictors were not obvious due to patterns of land management since colonization," Ingram said.

Wiradjuri Elder, Uncle Neil Ingram said that the Wiradjuri philosophy of Yindyamarra (cultural respect) has been an important part of this project.

https://phys.org/news/2023-11-unveiling-sacred-wiradjuri-trees.html
 
This is one of the many scar trees around our area which is Wiradjuri Country. This one is on an old Box (grey, I think) and is about 3 metres up. This type of scar is consistant for the area, as in it's shape and inclination.
 

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Pottering about.

The discovery of the oldest pottery ever found in Australia on Jiigurru/Lizard Island off the Queensland coast is challenging the idea that Aboriginal Australian communities were unaware of pottery manufacture before European settlement.

James Cook University's Distinguished Professor Sean Ulm is Chief Investigator for the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH). He said the ceramics were discovered in an archaeological excavation on Jiigurru conducted by CABAH in partnership with the Dingaal and Ngurrumungu Aboriginal communities, for which Jiigurru holds significant cultural importance.

"Archaeologists excavated a 2.4-meter-deep midden on Jiigurru over a two-year period to discover evidence of occupation, such as the remains of shellfish and fish collected and eaten by people on the island, which are more than 6,000 years old.

"Less than a meter below the surface, the team found dozens of pottery shards dating between 2,000 and 3,000 years old—the oldest pottery ever discovered in Australia," said Professor Ulm.

In a paper published April 9 in Quaternary Science Reviews, traditional owners and researchers report on the pottery find.

Professor Ulm said the discovery challenges previous notions that Aboriginal Australian communities were unaware of pottery manufacture before European settlement, instead suggesting a rich history of long-distance cultural exchanges and technological innovation long before British arrival.

"Geological analysis of the ceramics indicates the pottery was locally produced using clays and tempers sourced from Jiigurru. The age of the pottery overlaps with a period when the Lapita people of southern Papua New Guinea were known to have produced pottery," said Professor Ulm. ...

https://phys.org/news/2024-04-discovery-pottery-rewrites-aboriginal-history.html
 
The findings are in Timor but they are relevant to the peopling of Australia.

Humans arrived in Australia at least 65,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence. These pioneers were part of an early wave of people travelling eastwards from Africa, through Eurasia, and ultimately into Australia and New Guinea.

But this was only one of many waves of migration in the story of the human colonization of the globe. These waves were probably driven by climate change and the ability of groups to adapt to a wide range of environments.

In new research published in Nature Communications, we have found evidence that a large wave of migration reached the island of Timor not long after 50,000 years ago.

Our work at Laili rock shelter suggests the people who first reached Australia some 65,000 years ago came via New Guinea, while Timor and other southern islands were only colonized by a later wave of settlers.

Timor has long been regarded as a potential stepping-stone island for the first human migration between mainland Southeast Asia and Australia and New Guinea.

At the time of these ancient migrations, sea levels were lower, so many of what are now islands in Southeast Asia were joined to the mainland in a region known as Sunda, and Australia and New Guinea were joined together in a single continent known as Sahul. ...

https://www.sciencealert.com/discovery-in-timor-may-rewrite-how-humanity-arrived-in-australia
 
An ancient ritual

Archaeology and oral tradition often focus on opposite ends of the human story. One probes the deep past, the other recounts tales from recent ancestors. Now, a discovery from an Australian cave brings the two together: a 12,000-year-old archaeological find that matches 19th century accounts of Aboriginal sorcery practices—rituals that may have involved taking pieces of an intended victim’s hair or clothing, affixing them to the end of a stick smeared with human or kangaroo fat, and casting them into a fire.

The discovery may represent the oldest known, culturally transmitted ritual—one that persisted among local people from the last ice age to colonial times, according to a study published today in Nature Human Behaviour.

“My first reaction is simply ‘wow,” says Tiina Manne, an archaeologist at the University of Queensland who was not involved in the study. “This is a remarkable piece of research that convincingly describes what appear to be ritual practices dating back 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.”

The discoveries were made in Cloggs Cave, a rich archaeological site in southeastern Australia. Nestled into a limestone outcrop overlooking the grassy foothills of the Australian Alps, the cave extends about 12 meters underground and preserves a long record of Aboriginal culture. Previous studies have documented human activity there as far back as 25,000 years ago.

In 2017, the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the local Indigenous people, forged a partnership with scientists at Monash University to conduct research on traditional lands. Cloggs Cave, where other archaeologists had done excavations in the early 1970s, was a location of prime interest. “This cave is a like a museum holding the history of our people,” says Russell Mullett, an GunaiKurnai elder and co-author of the new paper. ...

https://www.science.org/content/art...be-oldest-known-culturally-transmitted-ritual
 
Early human occupation of northern Australia: archaeology and thermoluminescence dating of Jinmium rock-shelter, Northern Territory.
Abstract:

The nature and date of the human colonization of Australia remains a key issue in prehistory at the world scale, for a sufficiently early presence there indicates either Homo sapiens sapiens arriving precociously in a place remote from a supposed African origin, or a greater competence in sea-crossing than has been expected of archaic humans. Stratigraphic integrity, the new science of luminescent dating and the recognition of worked stone and of rock-engraving are immediate issues in this report from far northwestern Australia.
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Source: Fullagar RLK, Price DM, Head LM. Early human occupation of northern Australia: archaeology and thermoluminescence dating of Jinmium rock-shelter, Northern Territory. Antiquity. 1996;70(270) 751-773.
 

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Early human occupation of northern Australia: archaeology and thermoluminescence dating of Jinmium rock-shelter, Northern Territory.
Abstract:

The nature and date of the human colonization of Australia remains a key issue in prehistory at the world scale, for a sufficiently early presence there indicates either Homo sapiens sapiens arriving precociously in a place remote from a supposed African origin, or a greater competence in sea-crossing than has been expected of archaic humans. Stratigraphic integrity, the new science of luminescent dating and the recognition of worked stone and of rock-engraving are immediate issues in this report from far northwestern Australia.
View attachment 79150Source: Fullagar RLK, Price DM, Head LM. Early human occupation of northern Australia: archaeology and thermoluminescence dating of Jinmium rock-shelter, Northern Territory. Antiquity. 1996;70(270) 751-773.
Thank you Fabio - there has been talk of extended dating for habitation in Australia from Jinmium. Thank you again.
 
Optical and Radiocarbon Dating at Jinmium Rock Shelter in Northern Australia.
Abstract:

The Jinmium rock shelter is located in the Kimberley region of northern Australia. Claims for ancient rock art and an early human presence at this site1 were based on thermoluminescence ages of 50–75 thousand years (kyr) for quartz sands associated with buried circular engravings (pecked cupules) and on thermoluminescence ages of 116–176 kyr for the underlying artefact-bearing deposits. Here we report substantially younger optical ages for quartz sand, and ages based on measurements of radioactive carbon in charcoal fragments, from the occupation deposit. Using conventional (multiple-grain) optical dating methods, we estimate that the base of the deposit is 22 kyr. However, dating of individual grains shows that some have been buried more recently. The single-grain optical ages indicate that the Jinmium deposit is younger than 10 kyr. This result is in agreement with the late-Holocene ages obtained for the upper two-thirds of the deposit from radiocarbon measurements. We suggest that some grains have older optical ages because they receivedinsufficient exposure to sunlight before burial. The presence of such grains in a sample will cause age overestimates using multiple-grain methods, whether using thermoluminescence or optical dating.​

Source: Roberts, R., Bird, M., Olley, J. et al. Optical and radiocarbon dating at Jinmium rock shelter in northern Australia. Nature 393, 358–362 (1998).
 

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Human Occupation at Jinmium, Northern Australia: 116,000 Years Ago or Much Less?
Abstract:

The rock-shelter of Jinmium in the Northern Territory of Australia hit the headlines a year-and-a-half ago when TL dates suggested human occupation might date from 116,000 years ago. Such dates were much earlier than any previously obtained for Australia, and thus suggested the continent was colonized at a very early stage in human dispersal around the Pacific. However, some TL dating is notoriously difficult to interpret, and here Nigel Spooner has re-assessed one of the later dates in the Jinmium sequence. His interpretation calls into doubt some of the earlier claims.​

Source: Spooner, N. A. (1998). Human occupation at Jinmium, northern Australia: 116,000 years ago or much less? Antiquity, 72(275), 173–178
 

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Minimum Ages for Pecked Rock Markings from Jinmium, North Western Australia
Abstract:

Sixteen accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon (14C) determinations for oxalate crusts overlying three pecked rock markings (cupules) at three separate localities in the Keep River area of north western Australia provide age estimates from 1430-11,000 years since the markings were last retouched. These are the first direct dates reported for rock-art of this kind. While these determinations do not lend strong support to previous argu- ments for a Pleistocene cupule age they also do not refute such arguments. We maintain the age of the crusts is more closely related to climatic fluctuations rather than when cupules were pro- duced, with crust formation directly related to the nature of local ecological conditions. We discuss implications for estimating the time-depth of rock-art sequences in northern Australia, and gen- eral problems with the direct dating of rock-art
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Source: Watchman, Alan, et al. “Minimum Ages for Pecked Rock Markings from Jinmium, North Western Australia.” Archaeology in Oceania, vol. 35, no. 1, 2000, pp. 1–10.
 

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Grinding and pounding stones from Cuddie Springs and Jinmium.
Overview:

In Australia, grinding and pounding stones have been studied less extensively than flaked stone artefacts, despite much recent work on certain artefact types (for example, Smith 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989; Veth et al. 1997; Gorecki et al. 1997; Kamminga 1981; Hall et al.1989). McCarthy’s study remains the only synthesis of non-flaked Aboriginal stone implements, and is useful simply because it emphasises the range of tasks and multi-functional tools which might be encountered archaeologically. In this paper, we briefly review the range of non-flaked implements; morphologically distinct pounding and grinding implements; and functional evidence for food processing. We argue that use-wear/residue analysis is crucial for understanding grinding and pounding implements, and that interpretations of function are not necessarily independent of tool design. We present a case study with descriptions of implements from two Australian archaeological sites: Cuddie Springs, an open site in semi-arid, south-eastern Australia; and Jinmium, a rock shelter in monsoonal, tropical north-western Australia. We summarise results of use-wear and residue analysis on tools from these two sites, and distinguish those implements associated specifically with processing plant foods.
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Source: Field, J. & Fullagar, R. Grinding and pounding stones from Cuddie Springs and Jinmium. In A Closer Look: Recent Australian Studies of Stone Tools (ed Fullagar, R.). Sydney University Archaeological Methods6, 95–108 (1998).
 

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Rio Tinto DID know that they would destroy Juukan Gorge, for iron ore (excuse me while I spit), a 46,000 year old site of National Significance, to the extent that they consulted their solicitors, prior to the shotfiring, to ascertain the fallout...Gods rot their souls!


https://www.theguardian.com/busines...9c_vsYDUiOq5oaTNTt3N7KI72vU6rX8cs7wZxUOrj68A4

47,000 years of Aboriginal heritage was destroyed.

In May 2020, as part of a legally permitted expansion of an iron ore mine, Rio Tinto destroyed an ancient rockshelter at Juukan Gorge in Puutu Kunti Kurrama Country in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Working with the Traditional Owners, we had excavated the shelter—known as Juukan 2—in 2014, six years before its destruction. We found evidence Aboriginal people first used Juukan 2 around 47,000 years ago, likely throughout the last ice age, through to just a few decades before the cave was destroyed.

The site held thousands of significant objects, including an ancient plait of human hair, tools and other artifacts, and animal remains. The results of the excavation led to last-minute efforts to stop the destruction of the site, but they were unsuccessful.

The full results of the excavation are published for the first time in Quaternary Science Reviews.

Juukan is a gorge system with a series of caves in Puutu Kunti Kurrama Country, approximately 60 km north west of Tom Price, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The Juukan 2 rockshelter is one of the caves that make up this system. It was once part of a deep gorge featuring fresh water holes, large camping areas surrounded by massive ironstone mountains and a large river that flowed at some times of the year and was dry at others.

Today the area is part of a Rio Tinto iron ore mine. As widely reported in May 2020, the Juukan 2 rockshelter was destroyed during mine expansion activities. While Rio Tinto held ministerial consent to destroy the heritage site, the action was against the wishes of the Traditional Owners.

The destruction led to widespread global condemnation and shone a spotlight on Western Australia's substandard heritage protection legislation. ...

https://phys.org/news/2024-07-results-juukan-gorge-years-aboriginal.html
 
The Juukan Gorge destruction, A case study in stakeholder-driven and shared values approach to cultural heritage protection
Abstract:

Purpose – In 2020, mining activity by Rio Tinto destroyed rock caves in Western Australia’s Juukan Gorge that are considered sacred sites by the First Nation Peoples of that area, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Peoples. This paper examines the public response to the damage caused at this culturally sensitive site and identifies cultural heritage protection strategies that emerged in the aftermath of this catastrophic event. Design/methodology/approach – This research applies a qualitative case study method and analysis of open-sourced official policy documents, media reports and published institutional statements. Findings – The research identified specific cultural heritage protection strategies, including stakeholderdriven advocacy and shared values approach to business practices to help foster a greater appreciation of the connections between people, objects and lands. Whilst the mining activities were considered lawful, significant gaps in the legislation to protect heritage sites were also exposed. Originality/value – Using a recent case that occurred in 2020, this paper unpacks how the motivations for accessing minerals can override cultural sensibilities and legal/ethical frameworks established to protect cultural heritage. This paper brings to light the liabilities associated with the mining industry when operating in a culturally significant environment where appropriate due diligence to manage cultural heritage is not
thoroughly applied. The paper highlights the role the community can play in demanding improved corporate social responsibility which can, in turn, act as a strategy for cultural heritage protection.

Source: VA Oliveri, G Porter, C Davies, P James . The Juukan Gorge destruction, A case study in stakeholder-driven and shared values approach to cultural heritage protection Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 2022
 

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How many Juukans? The case for heritage conservation strategies into the future.
Overview:

A few landmark moments in the Australian modern era have shown us that as a nation we are ready to embrace and honour our Indigenous past. One such moment is the upcoming constitutional referendum for The Voice, currently being divisively contested in national politics and hotly debated on social media—as one might expect in this post-COVID world! It was this very environment, subjugated by global uncertainty, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter into which Juukan Gorge’s rockshelters were catapulted—in National Reconciliation Week 2020—to global notoriety for RioTinto, putting the spotlight on Western Australia’s heritage legislation. Why was it that the destruction of this rockshelter resonated with the world? Those of us in the heritage industry know that the daily incidences of site destruction across the nation are relentless: suburban sprawl and infrastructure development in our major capital cities; mining the Pilbara’s iron ore and the coal belts of the Hunter Valley and central Queensland.

Source: McDonald, J. (2024). How many Juukans? The case for heritage conservation strategies into the future. Australian Archaeology, 90(1), 79–81.
 

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The Voice was rejected by the majority of Our First Nation due to what was proposed by the government was another tier of government.

Again, the Govt. took a good idea and allowed the bureaucrats to run with it instead of sitting on country and listening.

The main point that Aunty Lyn next door was trying to get through to government via our Federal representative was that there are about 280 different Nations (Mobs) in Australia with language and cultural barriers that prevent explicit communication, and that having one person speak for all of 'Em, is a fools paradise.

Anyway Fabio.

The significance and multitude of relics, artefacts and fabric that surrounds Aboriginality is what we walk on in this country. Roads and Parking areas are built on significant areas and the storage facilities required by local land councils for relics found would need to be huge, the classification system a nation wide database and would involve a work force of thousands.

These implements have been dug up in my back yard. Hand axes, Hammer stones, grinding stones, retouched microliths, etc. I could take these to the local land council but they would be stuck in a cardboard box and placed into storage. After a decade or so they would be taken out the back and dumped.

The second photo was at a beach side area quite a few decades ago that was going to be paved over after being worked with bulldozers, which would've destroyed any stratigraphy or relevant connection to contemporary organic matter.



The significance of places like Juukan is indescribable with the majority placed behind steel barriers, while the lesser sites are Graffitied over by people who have no idea of the significance while other sites are seen as a primary product.
 

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The Voice was rejected by the majority of Our First Nation due to what was proposed by the government was another tier of government.

Again, the Govt. took a good idea and allowed the bureaucrats to run with it instead of sitting on country and listening.

The main point that Aunty Lyn next door was trying to get through to government via our Federal representative was that there are about 280 different Nations (Mobs) in Australia with language and cultural barriers that prevent explicit communication, and that having one person speak for all of 'Em, is a fools paradise.

Anyway Fabio.

The significance and multitude of relics, artefacts and fabric that surrounds Aboriginality is what we walk on in this country. Roads and Parking areas are built on significant areas and the storage facilities required by local land councils for relics found would need to be huge, the classification system a nation wide database and would involve a work force of thousands.

These implements have been dug up in my back yard. Hand axes, Hammer stones, grinding stones, retouched microliths, etc. I could take these to the local land council but they would be stuck in a cardboard box and placed into storage. After a decade or so they would be taken out the back and dumped.

The second photo was at a beach side area quite a few decades ago that was going to be paved over after being worked with bulldozers, which would've destroyed any stratigraphy or relevant connection to contemporary organic matter.



The significance of places like Juukan is indescribable with the majority placed behind steel barriers, while the lesser sites are Graffitied over by people who have no idea of the significance while other sites are seen as a primary product.
At least in your country there are people who fight to preserve the relics of the past. In Argentina, hundreds of thousands of archaeological objects have been lost, cave paintings have been destroyed, menhirs have even been demolished and relocated so that they are more visited by tourists. In the last year I have traveled almost 10 thousand kilometers through the mountains of San Luis and Cordoba and I have come across dozens of objects that were used by our ancestors, thrown anywhere. Archaeological sites are of no importance to the authorities and even to the majority of the inhabitants. Aboriginal cemeteries have been desecrated, without any scruples. In short, it is a situation that provokes too much indignation due to the tremendous contempt for our past.
 
So that you understand how serious the situation is, in my country there are supposed organizations that defend the rights of our aboriginal ancestors but they are simply a façade for economic and political activities. On the trips I told you about we made together with a young woman (We are both descendants of Aboriginal people from different tribes.) we were able to suffer the destruction and subjugation to which the sacred sites and megalithic constructions of our ancients are subjected.
 
From my journeys in Cordoba y San Luis. Bedrock Mortars or Cupules, torn from their original rock to be displayed at the entrance to caves. Below photos of the access to the caves and rock shelters, where rock mortars were faked on a clay floor!!!

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The indigenous material heritage situation in Argentina must be utterly infuriating for your people, Fab.
With respect, could you give me a bit of info regarding your heritage and people? My scant knowledge of Southern South American cultures runs out at about the same place our shallow school education did - somewhere around Cuzco (or 'Koo-zo', as my dear little history teacher Su Smith used to pronounce it). I'm interested in finding out more about sub-Andean peoples. If you'd rather not, I understand completely. Like @Mungoman, I'm Australian, and am also sympathetic to Indigenous perspectives on land and heritage, having worked for First Nations communities as an educator both in the academy and the outback.

Thanks for your contributions here. You're building up a tidy scholastic repository for students of all kinds to deepen their knowledge. I fact, In really did cite one of the above sources in an essay for my Oz Studies major at university back in the last century.
 
@skinny First of all, I deeply appreciate your words and it is a great pleasure for me to be able to present in this forum all the material that I have collected in 45 years of research.
So that you can get to know the cultures of South America beyond the Quechuas of Cuzco, my ancestry is from the Pampa Ranquel tribe, which lived in the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa and the extreme south of Cordoba. The woman who accompanied me on the trips has Comechingon or Kami Chingon ancestry, a tribe that lived in the provinces of San Luis and Cordoba. In fact, in the south of Cordoba, both ethnicities coexisted amicably. To give you an idea of the prejudice that exists in this country, my grandfather was called "brute" even by my mother simply because he was an Aboriginal. Part of my friend's family also denies their origins.
It is a great pleasure to be able to help you learn about the native peoples of my country and other regions of South America.
Tell me how I can help you and what would be the most appropriate way to send that information.

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