Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Southern > Terrestrial hunters of the far south of Chile

Environment and Geography

These groups occupied the Andean valleys of Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia, a rugged, forest-covered land that served as a natural boundary of the western sea channels, but they mainly occupied the adjoining high tableland that slopes gradually towards the Atlantic (in Eastern Patagonia). This region of steppes covered with hardy grasses and bushes has a semi-arid climate with low temperatures and little rainfall. These inland hunters also inhabited the steppes and woodlands of the Isla Grande on Tierra del Fuego, situated south of the Strait of Magellan. In historic times, the inland hunter tradition continued in continental Patagonia amongst the Aonikenk or Tehuelche tribe, while across the Strait of Magellan on Tierra del Fuego the last survivors of this way of life were the Selk`nam or Ona people, and the virtually unknown Haush.