The oldest evidence that has ever been found, determining that humans lived at extremely high altitudes nearly 12,000 years ago was discovered by archeologists recently. The discovery was made in the Peruvian Andes, and the site is actually quite developed for something that was used 12,000 years ago, now.
The sites consist of a rock shelter, rock art, open-air workshops, fragmented tools, and much more. The sites are located a wildly-high 14,700 feet above sea level. This is thoroughly impressive for a group of people that lived 12,000 years before today. The discovery makes some ground breaking assumptions, according to archeologists. For example, the discovery details that ancient people of South America were living at extremely high altitudes just 2,000 years after people first reached the shores of the continent.
The findings though, raise serious questions about how people physically adapted to living in these conditions. Living at that altitude isn’t something that just anyone can wake up, and decide to do. It takes time for the human body to adapt to the fact that there is significantly less oxygen in the air at that altitude, yet the evidence seems to indicate that within just 2,000 years, they were doing it.
Obviously though, with as groundbreaking as this discovery is, the next step is finding human remains to corroborate the belief that archeologists now have regarding humans living at these incredibly high altitudes. It was also noted that the recent discoveries would not have been possible if it were not for work that had been being conducted since the 1990’s.
The things that the archeologists found at the sites that they uncovered, like evidence of fire, rock art, and much more were just a few of the indicators that led them to understand that human life was a real thing there. It’s interesting to point out that a breakthrough here could really begin to explain how early human innovation happened, and how the thought process might have played out for those living during the period.
Perhaps it was out of necessity that humans moved to that area and found refuge there. It’s too hard to tell at this point. However, the future work that is done in researching the region will do the most to making further determinations about the people involved.