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Early Humans From Ancient Peru More Advanced Than Originally Thought

First Posted: May 26, 2017 05:00 AM EDT

A team of scientists from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute recently made a groundbreaking discovery in coastal Peru. With a single basket from the ruins of an ancient civilization, they were able to shed some light on humans living nearly 15,000 years ago.

The team found hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the site, including intricate and elaborate hand-woven baskets that were excavated in Huaca Prieta between 2007 and 2013. The site revealed that early humans are actually more advanced than scientists originally though.

Phys.org noted that archaeologists have argued about the origins and emergence of Peru's complex ancient society.They were not able to agree whether the society first appeared in the highlands with groups depended on agriculture or along the coast, who were dependent on seafood.

However, as noted in the study published in Science Advances, it seems that ancient people have a more rapid development of "cultural complexity," as they called it. Dr. James M. Adovasio, world-acclaimed archaeologist and co-author of the study, said that the artifacts retrieved in Huaca Prieta included food remains, tools and even cultural features that raised questions regarding the pace of development of early humans in the region. It also begged to ask just how fast the pace of knowledge and technology rose for them to exploit resources from both land and sea.

Among those excavated are tools that are used to capture deep-sea fish, which indicated that fishing excursions took place at a time when boats were able to withstand rough waters. Yet, they were also able to grow crops like squash, avocado and even some forms of medicinal plants.

However, the most curious artifacts discovered remained to be the collection of basket remnants that were made from diverse materials. Some of these materials are even used today by modern basket makers.

Dr. Adovasio explained, "To make these complicated textiles and baskets indicates that there was a standardized or organized manufacturing process in place and that all of these artifacts were much fancier than they needed to be for that time period." The baskets, he said, reflected a level of complexity that shows a society more sophisticated than expected.

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