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  • Archeologists in Bolivia

    Archeologists in Bolivia's department of Santa Cruz government present artifacts found near El Soto, June 28, 2016. | Photo: Gobierno de Santa Cruz

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The archeological site was likely a meeting place for trade between the Tupi-Guarani peoples and Indigenous groups of what is today Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. 

Archeologists have unearthed 1,100-year-old human remains of a woman in Bolivia, close to the present-day borders with neighboring countries Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, indicating the area was a meeting spot for Indigenous traders.

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The millennium-old bones of a presumably young body were found lying in the fetal position and, unlike other similar discoveries, were not inside some form of ceramic urn, but were topped by a mosaic covering about 4 feet underground, the local newspaper El Deber reported Sunday.

The find was uncovered in the community of El Soto in the southeastern province of Chiquitos, Santa Cruz department, and marks progress in the departmental government’s quest to “unravel” the archeological history of the area.

According to the research team, the site was inhabited by people of the Tupi-Guarani culture and was likely a meeting place for people from the territories that are now the countries of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia.

“There was the great fusion of peoples there that later connected with others in different parts of what is now Santa Cruz," in Bolivia, archaeologist Danilo Drakic told El Deber. The archeologist was among a few “notable” figures in Santa Cruz recognized by the departmental government earlier this year for their “valuable contributions” in working toward “strengthening the culture of the region.”

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Various artifacts have been discovered in the area surrounding the site of the 1,100-year-old remains unearthed last week. In June, the government of Santa Cruz presented a number of recently-discovered archeological pieces from around El Soto, including pottery, shells, and semiprecious lapis stones.

Researchers said that the finds point to the existence of a millennium-old Tupi-Guarani settlement and that the inhabitants had exchange relationships with other groups, since the blue-colored lapis stone originates in Chile. The newly-found remains of a young woman could be another piece of the puzzle.

The Santa Cruz government’s archeological team was tipped off about the El Soto site when local school students came across what appeared to be archeological artefacts while trying to start a garden, according to Santa Cruz government documents. The municipality contacted the department which sent experts to determine whether the objects had historical importance.

According to the new agency AFP, local residents in the El Soto area hope that a museum will eventually be developed to display the archeological relics and share the Indigenous history of the region.

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