In DepthArchaeology

Humans may have reached Chile by 18,500 years ago

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Science  20 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 898
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6263.898

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Summary

The famous archaeological site of Monte Verde in southern Chile is already the oldest in the Americas, showing that humans occupied South America by 14,500 years ago. Now, new excavations suggest that people built fires, cooked plants and meat, and used tools at Monte Verde 18,500 years ago, which would push back the peopling of the Americas by another 4000 years. If the team is correct, the discovery will shake up both the archaeology and genomics of the peopling of the Americas. It narrows the window of time when humans swept into the Americas, starting at a maximum age of 23,000 years ago when genetic studies say the ancestors of Paleoindians first left Siberia. And the find raises questions about the North American record, where no one had found widely accepted evidence of occupation before 14,500 years ago.