The faraway land of Antarctica broken away from the rest of the world to live a life of on its own with completely different atmosphere, weather pattern and animals has also got a sad tales of human bodies and each such story tells its own relationship with this inhospitable but great continent.
Even today’s technology and knowledge of the dangerous continent cannot just help from its deadly claws when anyone lands there. Temperatures can go down to as much as -90 degree Celsius and in some places, winds can reach a speed of up to 322km/hour. And we can’t avoid talking about other issues apart from the weather.
Any man, be it a scientist or an explorer, when perishes here, it may be almost impossible to retrieve their bodies. Such is the case with many people who went on expeditions there. Even if its possible, the search may go on for very long periods in the no-man island continent. Some were discovered after several decades or after a century was already over. But normally, when someone is lost, may never be found due to the fact that, they get buried so deep in ice sheets or crevasses that they will never come out from it. It may be possible that after getting covered up by the ice, they may be headed towards the sea while still being buried under the creeping glaciers and calving ice.
The stories may relate to unsolved mysteries or just accidents. For example, once a human skull and femur have been lying near the seashore for about 175 years on the Livingston Island which is one among the South Shetlands off the Antarctic Peninsula. As per the records, they are the oldest human remains ever found on the Continent.
The bones were found on the beach in the 1980s. According to Chilean researchers, the remains belonged to a woman who died at the age of about 21 years. She belonged to the southern Chile region with indigenous personality, somewhat 1,000 km away.
When the bones were analyzed, it was found that she died between 1819 and 1825. That means she might be one of the first people to have landed on Antarctica.
But the question is, to know, how did she reach there….? The normal and traditional canoes of the Chileans could not have allowed her to take such a great voyage through the rough seas.
“There’s no evidence for an independent Amerindian presence in the South Shetlands,” says Michael Pearson, an Antarctic heritage consultant and independent researcher. “It’s not a journey you’d make in a bark canoe.”
The Chilean researchers interpret that she might have been a guide to the sealers traveling from the northern hemisphere towards the Antarctic islands that were freshly discovered by William Smith back in 1819. But the fact is, women were never heard of taking such voyages in those days.
In those days, sealers indeed had a very close relationship with the indigenous people of southern Chile, says Melisa Salerno, who is an archaeologist of the Argentinean Scientific and Technical Research Council. Sometimes they would exchange seal skins with each other for their expertise and knowledge. But it was not that they were always friendly in their interactions with respect to their cultures.
“Sometimes it was a violent situation,” says Salerno. “The sealers could just take a woman from one beach and later leave her far away on another.”
You May Also Read: ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 Launch Expected On January 3 2019