Originally Posted: July 22, 2020
In Science magazine, SMU archeologist David Meltzer questions if stone tools found in a Mexico cave indicate that humans were there 26,000 years ago, more than 10,000 years before any other known human occupation in the region.
At first glance, Chiquihuite Cave in Mexico’s Zacatecas state is an unlikely place to find signs of early humans, let alone evidence that might change the story of the peopling of the Americas. It sits a daunting 1000 meters above a valley, overlooking a desert landscape in the mountains north of Zacatecas. Getting there requires a 4- or 5-hour uphill scramble over a moonscape of jagged boulders.
But in the soil below the cave’s floor, a team led by archaeologist Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, University City Siglo XXI, dug up almost 2000 stone objects that researchers think are tools. By combining state-of-the-art dating methods, the team argues that humans were at the site at least 26,000 years ago—more than 10,000 years before any other known human occupation in the region. “Chiquihuite is a solitary dot” of human occupation, Ardelean says. READ MORE