Prehistoric “hotel” found in Mexico shakes up understanding of human history (video)

A painstaking excavation in an isolated & dangerous high desert finds people lived in the not-so-new world thousands of years earlier than previously thought

Exactly how long people have lived in the Western Hemisphere has been a topic of hot debate in archaeology circles going back at least to the 19th century. Two papers published in the journal Nature on Wednesday suggest humans were hanging out in Mexico as long as around 30,000 years ago.

I recall being taught not too long ago that humans were thought to have first populated the Americas via the Bering Sea land bridge between 12,000 and 20,000 years ago. However, recent excavations of Chiquihuite Cave in northern Mexico found new evidence that people were enjoying more temperate climes long before anyone made the icy trip from present-day Siberia to Alaska.

Analysis of almost 2,000 stone tools and sediment found in the high-altitude cave dated the artifacts to around 30,000 years ago.

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“These early visitors didn’t occupy the cave continuously, we think people spent part of the year there using it as a winter or summer shelter, or as a base to hunt during migration,” Eske Willerslev, a DNA scientist and one of the leaders of the research, said in a release. “This could be the Americas’ oldest ever hotel.”

If it was a hotel, its ancient guests packed some odd things for their stays there.

Read more: cnet