I. Prehistoric Times > I. After the Ice Age: Holocene Hunter-Gatherers (12,000 Years Ago to Modern Times) > 6. Central and South Americans
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
6. Central and South Americans
 
We still know little of the postglacial hunter-gatherer societies of Central and South America, except for those of coastal Peru, where, in later millennia, important civilizations were to flourish. The Paloma site and other fishing settlements at the mouths of coastal rivers flourished from the remarkable bounty of the nearby Pacific after 8000 B.C.E. Offshore currents brought deep-water species inshore, while shoals of anchovies and other small fish provided sustenance year-round. The same communities also exploited plant foods nourished by coastal fogs. Such Archaic hunter-gatherer societies developed increasing complexity over many centuries. Fish and sea mammals remained a vital resource for coastal Peruvians long after agriculture developed along the coast after 2000 B.C.E. and civilizations prospered.  1
Elsewhere in Central and South America, late Paleo-Indian and Archaic hunter-gatherers adapted to every kind of Holocene environment imaginable, from cold, oceanic coastlines in the far south to the dense rain forest in the Amazon basin and high-altitude plateaux in the Andes Mountains. It was here, in the high Andes, that the inhabitants of Guitarrero Cave in Peru began the deliberate cultivation of beans as early as 8000 B.C.E. In doing so, they laid the foundation for the brilliant expertise of Native Americans with cultivated native plants of every kind in later millennia.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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