First Steps in Addressing the Submerged Archaeological Evidence in the Patagonian Continental Shelf, Argentina

Dolores Elkin, Luis Alberto Borrero, Daniela de Hoz, John McCarthy, Jonathan Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Noting the minimal research in South America related to cultural remains which could have become submerged due to sea-level rise at different stages in the past since the Pleistocene–Holocene transition, we take a systematic approach in this article towards making a positive contribution regarding inundated sites and landscapes in Eastern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. This is a region with a vast continental shelf and high potential for addressing significant archaeological topics such as human migration routes, characteristics of peopling processes, and the use of space and natural resources in the Southernmost part of the American continent. In the context of the latter, the study of submerged landscapes can shed light on past use of the marine environment and its resources. We begin by presenting a regional overview of the archaeological record which can be chronologically and geographically relevant for the topics considered. The characteristics of such record, combined with a general evaluation of coastal and underwater geomorphology as well as other environmental variables, is used to infer some possible targets or “hotspots” with higher potential for past human use as well as preservation of cultural remains. This article provides a basis for further model-developing and ground-truthing surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-109
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Maritime Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Patagonia
  • Prehistoric archaeology
  • Submerged landscapes
  • Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
  • Underwater archaeology


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