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Still Waters

Ancient high-altitude human dwelling found

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Still Waters

Life in high-altitude mountains can be rough. Resources are scarce, the weather can be extreme and oxygen levels hover at dangerously low levels. Archaeologists have thus assumed that towering mountains and plateaus were among the last places to be populated by ancient humans. But a new study suggests that this assumption could be wrong.

Published in the journal Science, the research details a remarkable discovery in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains at a site located more than 11,000 feet above sea level. There, a team of experts unearthed a trove of artifacts—among them stone tools, clay fragments, burnt animal bones and a glass bead—indicating that people had lived there as early as 47,000 years ago. These finds, according to the study, represent “the earliest evidence of a prehistoric high-altitude [human] residential site.”




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