Peru’s 15,000-Year-Old Avocados

(Photo: Pixabay)

Ancient Peruvians and their fruits are challenging long-held beliefs about early American peoples.

It sounds crazy, but a 15,000-year-old fruit discovery can be just as important as the people who ate them.

Deep beneath Huaca Prieta, University of Nashville archaeologist Tom Dillehay’s team revealed evidence of “hearth fires, animal bones, plant remains, and simple but unmistakable stone tools” from nearly 15,000 years ago, according to Science.

The fact that yet another 14,000-year-old plus site has been found in Peru is putting a lot of pressure on the long-held theory that America’s first people had arrived by crossing a land bridge.

Why?  The land bridge theory would only have allowed early peoples to penetrate the interior of the modern-day United States around 13,000 years ago.  However, the evidence is still lacking for migration down the Pacific coast, the only other logical route.

Additionally, the food remains indicate that avocados were an essential part of the ancient Huaca Prietan diet nearly 15,000 years ago.  According to Produce news, this changes how experts think about the lifestyles of early coastal Peruvians; perhaps their diets were more diverse and healthy than originally believed.

With avocados big in Peruvian news this year and becoming one of the country’s top exports in the first half of 2017, it is interesting to realize that Peru has a long history with one of the world’s most loved fruits.



Mike grew up and eventually attended university in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated in Integrative Leadership Studies with an emphasis in Urban and Regional Planning and has been a part of planning projects in three different countries. Mike’s passion is reading; he devours both literature and nonfiction. His favorite author is Peru’s own Julio Ramón Ribeyro.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. Mike Dreckschmidt

    Hi Bob, your link seems to back up the information that I found. Humans could not have feasibly crossed the land bridge until about 13,000 years ago and this is indicated on the map you posted. The fact that there are many sites in South America that are much older is some of the best evidence we have that humans did not arrive there by the land bridge, but rather by sea.