Prehistoric tools, weapons discovered in Peruvian Andes


AFP August 20, 2006

LIMA --  A team of Peruvian and US archaeologists have discovered prehistoric stone tools and weapons some 10,000 years old in an Andean town, the National Institute of Culture announced Friday.

Stone axes, spearheads, and weapons were found in the main square of San Pedro de Chavin de Huantar, an Andean town some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Lima, officials said.

"This discovery represents exceptional evidence of the presence of inhabitants in the Pleistocene era," the Institute said in a statement.

The Pleistocene went from about 1.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago, when the last ice age ended.

The items were discovered by a team lead by Peruvian archaeologist Christian Mesia from the Chavin de Huantar Archaeological Investigation Project and John Rick, an American from Stanford University.

Rick and Mesia said that it is one of the few open Stone Age camps ever found in the Andes.

The discovery "will have a special significance for the culture and the civic identity" of the town residents, they said in the statement.

Chavin de Huantar is best known as the site where an underground stone temple from the influential Chavin civilization is located.

The temple was built around 1000 BC and used until around 200 BC. It is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site