Alakaluf and Yaghan House

Yaghan and Alakaluf Cultures of Tierra Del Fuego, the southern most island point in the Americas, Chile and Argentina; house type still in use. The ancestors of these peoples are being studied as possibly the earliest inhabitants in the Americas, perhaps dating to 50,000 BCE. They may have originated from Australia, not traveling across the land bridge as with other indigenous tribes of the Americas. Their art is similar to aboriginal Australians and that found in northern Brazil. They wore little clothing and, over a long time period, adapted their metabolism to the harsh, often cold, climate of Cape Horn by painting their bodies with animal grease, and huddling around small fires in their heat-focusing spheroid houses. Early passing Europeans called these islands Tierra Del Fuego (land of fire) because the many small fires seen on the shores.

Elevation near sea level along the coast.

Materials: tree branches forming half domes; animal skins and thatch roofing.

Data for CG model:
1. Gluidoni, Enrico, 1975, Primitive Architecture, Electa/Rizzoli, New York, 1975
2. Davidson, D.S., 1937; The Question of Relationship between the Cultures of Australia and Tierra Del Fuego, American Anthropological Association New Series, Vol 39, No. 2, pp.229-243.
3. Dürr. Eveline, and Schorch, Philip, Edits., 2016; Transpacific Americas, Encounters and Engagements Between the Americas and the South Pacific, Routledge, New York, NY.

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