Archaeological site in Puno unearths some of the best evidence yet for permanent ancient occupation of the highest habitable regions of the Andes.
There are older archaeological sites in Peru. There are many that are more impressive and well-preserved. However, few are so old and so high in altitude as the recent human remains and tools discovered recently in Puno.
USA Today reports that, according to archaeologist Randall Haas of the research team, the finding is some of the best evidence yet for permanent occupation of the highest habitable regions of the Peruvian Andes. Found at the site were remains of 16 people (including an at least 50-year-old man), spear points, animal bones, and the leftovers of wild root plants.
It is emphasized that life in the high plains of the puna grasslands of Peru is not easy today, let alone thousands of years ago. The conditions are dry and often very cold, there is high frequency of drought, and much of the soil is barren. Because of this, it is thought the site could have been a higher altitude camp or a seasonal base for a population that was permanently settled at a lower altitude. Yet, the possibility remains that this could have indeed been a permanent settlement in some of the harshest conditions for survival.
Haas and his team have examined all of the tools found at the site. They do not believe that any of them came from Peru’s lower regions.
The official peer-reviewed paper on the discovery is available for viewing in PDF at the Royal Society.
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