12,000-year-old 'oldest mine in America' unearthed in Chile
Washington, May 20 (ANI): A 12,000-year-old iron oxide mine that marks the oldest evidence of organized mining ever found in America has been discovered in Chile.
A team of researchers led by Diego Salazar of the Universidad de Chile found the 40-m trench near the coastal town of Taltal in northern Chile.
It was dug by the Huentelauquen people-the first settlers in the region-who used iron oxide as pigment for painted stone and bone instruments, and probably also for clothing and body paint, according to the researchers.
An estimated 700 cubic meters and 2,000 tons of rock were extracted from the mine.
Carbon dates for charcoal and shells found in the mine suggested it was used continuously from around 12,000 years ago to 10,500 years ago, and then used again around 4,300 years ago.
The researchers also found more than 500 hammerstones dating back to the earliest use of the mine.
The finding is reported in the June issue of Current Anthropology. (ANI)
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