Archaeologists have documented the highest altitude human occupation in the world, during the ice age. The Pucuncho Basin is located nearly 4,500 meters above sea level. The rock shelter found was used as a base camp. Presumed is that hunting, and herding of domesticated alpacas and llamas, was the main way of living.
Because of the discoveries, high altitude human habitation can be dated a thousand years earlier than previously believed. About 12,000 years ago hunter-gatherers colonized the high mountains. According to researcher Kurt Rademaker “the study of human adaptation to extreme environments is important in understanding our cultural and genetic capacity for survival.”
The research team believes that, even though the Pucuncho Basin was able to offer residence throughout the year, the inhabitants still had to decent regularly. Storms, the cold and social connections, made the people come downhill regularly.