First societies of the upper Amazon – Chronicle

By: Atty. Augusto Costa Zabaleta

The Mayo Chinchipe – Marañón culture: The early history of Amazonian societies is very old and in what refers to the part corresponding to what is today the Republic of Ecuador, it has roots that are beginning to be understood in its true dimension; the initial settlement of the Amazon is as old as that which took place in the Andean highlands or on the Pacific coast; Works carried out in parts of the Amazon show human occupations from approximately 35,000 years ago.

Several theories have been outlined to explain the settlement of the American continent, among which the paradigm known as the “Clovis Consensus” has reigned, which advocates the late settlement of South America with a human occupation after 11,500 years before present; This theory rests on the assumption of the initial presence of man in America, through a migration from Siberia to Beringia (a land bridge created during the glaciation, in which the sea level falls and a passageway of ice and land is formed between the Asian Continent and North America).

From the entrance of man, through what is today Alaska, the continent was gradually populated from north to south; by 10,000 before the present, human groups reached Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America.

However, evidence found in recent years at various sites in the Amazon shows that man occupied the eastern part of the continent for at least 20,000 years; New evidence shows that human beings (organized in bands of hunter-gatherers) were capable of developing adaptive strategies according to the reality of the terrain they were occupying.

In the case of eastern Ecuador, there is no published information on sites of ancient human occupation with a certain date; Recent archaeological research has shown remains of the first sedentary cultures that settled in these territories, producing their own food and gradually transforming the original forest.

Monsignor Federico González Suárez, father of Ecuadorian archaeology, mentions for the first time the archaeological monuments of the Amazon region, he does so when he deals with the “walls of Gualaquiza” located in the eastern mountain range, however, he does not go into details and content with saying that these fortifications were perhaps the town of the disputes between Cañaris and Jibaros; the first work carried out east of the andes is a rapid study of some collections from Macas; Geoffrey Bushnell, an experienced English geologist-archaeologist, who had worked on the Peruvian and Ecuadorian coast, presented materials, in a famous European magazine, of the first sherds from the upper Ecuadorian Amazon to the world (Bushnell 1946).

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