José Miguel Ramírez Aliaga is a Chilean archaeologist. Ramírez has gained notoriety for his research on the possible pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact between Polynesians and Mapuches in Chile. That research line begun be investigated after Ramírez participated in an expedition headed by Thor Heyerdahl and organized by the Kon-Tiki Museum of Norway between 1987 and 1988. He was administrator of the Rapa Nui National Park in Easter Island between 1993 and 1999.
The first research was done in 1990-91 (a Fondecyt project) to look for some Polynesian features associated to the Mapuche culture (traditions, artifacts, linguistics), but there was no conclusive evidence then. In 2004, launched the proposal to look for the possible transpacific and pre-Hispanic origin of the elusive Araucana chicken. Just by chance, Chilean colleagues (Contreras et al 2005) surveying hundreds of sites from the Late Ceramic Period (1200-1400 AD) found the first chicken bones in a pre-Hispanic context in one particular shell midden (El Arenal, Arauco, southern Chile). A sample of the bones was analyzed by Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith at the University of Auckland, and found the first hard evidence for such a connection. 3 AMS datings on the bones confirmed the pre-hispanic origin (Storey, Ramirez et al 2007). Further research along with E. Matisoo-Smith showed Polynesian traits in human bones from Mocha island.