Ancient Human Settlements from 12,200 Years Ago Discovered in Costa Rica


Earlier this year, ancient human settlements dating back some 12,000 years were discovered in Costa Rica. While other ancient settlements have been discovered throughout the years, experts agree that these latest are the region’s oldest.

Workers involved with Costa Rica’s Reventazón Hydroelectric Project discovered an archaeological site while dating radiocarbon items. So far, 66 human settlements at that site have been uncovered that are believed to be 12,200 years of age. If that turns out to be correct, these settlements would be the oldest of their type in all of Central America. The information was announced in a statement released by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute.

The Archaeological Site

The archaeological site covers 2,516 acres in the canton of Siquirres. Exploration of that site began in 2006. At that time, workers were under the supervision of the National Archaeological Commission, otherwise referred to as CAN. However, because extracting and recovering the artifacts involves such delicate work, the task started only started this year.

Through radiocarbon dating, the items recovered at the site date back to the Paleo-Indian Period, which spanned from around 15,000 B.C. to the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age, somewhere near 7,000 B.C. Homo sapiens first inhabited the area that later became known as the New World during that period. At that same time, huge creatures lived, including the American mastodon.

The settlements sit along the banks of the Reventazón River. Among the settlements, archaeologists found what they have been able to recover stone tools, cooking utensils, pottery, dwelling foundations, petroglyphs, walkways, and stone roads. As imagined, this is an incredible discovery.

In addition, archaeologists found various tools used specifically for gathering, hunting, and carving. These items, as well as others, led the experts to believe that these early inhabitants were somehow engaged in farming, at least to a small degree. At 12,200 years old, the items found at the site are the oldest evidence in this particular region of a human settlement.

The majority of the items recovered from the site will be transferred to the Costa Rica National Museum’s Protection of Cultural Heritage. However, because some of the items are quite large and heavy, they must remain in place. A cultural center will be built on the premises where the future hydroelectric plant to display them.

Although the Protection of Cultural Heritage is not available to the public at this time, there is speculation that the items taken there will be on display later this year at the Costa Rica National Museum. As expected, people from around the world are intrigued and genuinely interested in learning more and possibly seeing the artifacts in person someday.