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The high life in prehistoric Peru.

The high life in prehistoric Peru

At an open-air site in the high sierra of southern Peru, researchers have uncovered the remains of dwellings ranging from 6,040 to 6,850 years old. These represent the earliest domestic structures known from the high elevations of the south central Andes Mountains, reports anthropologist Mark Aldenderfer in the Sept. 30 SCHIENCE. Humans living in this mountainous area between 10,000 and 4,000 years ago were thought to have resided only in caves and rock shelters.

Aldenderfer, of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., unearthed clay floors, post molds, hearths, garbage mounds and other features associated with 11 closely grouped residences. The houses are similar to those constructed at temporary, cold-season sites by modern foragers living in arid regions, Aldenderfer notes. The Peruvian sites served either as a temporary camp lying near a residential base on a nearby plateau or, he suggests, as a temporary settlement for seasonal foragers. Stone tools found among the remains at the site may have been used to butcher animal carcasses, and a recovered scraper was used in the preparation of animal hides. The site was probably occupied for no longer than one month at a time during the wet season of November to April, Aldenderfer adds.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 8, 1988
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