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28 February 2009
Oldest evidence of man found in Paraguay

Spanish experts have found in Paraguay the oldest evidence of the presence of man dating back more than 5,000 years. The find was made during the course of an investigation being conducted into the heritage of the Pai Tavytera Indians.
     The remnants of ancient man's presence - which were not specified - were found in a hill known as Jasuka Venda by a team from the Altamira Museum, which is responsible for looking after the same-named cave containing the famous Upper Paleolithic cave paintings. The museum will present details of the Paraguay find at the International Congress on Cave Art which will be held in July. But museum director Jose Antonio Lasheras is scheduled to travel to Paraguay within the next few days to provide to the Pai people and Paraguayan society an advance report on the results of the investigation to date.
     The Altamira Museum said, besides the most ancient evidence of a human presence in Paraguay, archaeologists had also found in the hill samples of cave art 'unexpected till now ... (in the) footstep style,' which is well-known in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. According to the team, the discoveries lead one to think that the 'region could be the origin and dissemination center for this type of cave art in almost all of South America.'
     The Pai Reta Joaju association of communities, the legal owner of the hill, pushed for the archaeological study in the area and requested the collaboration of the Altamira Museum to inventory its cultural heritage.The museum concluded that the Paraguayan government is interested in expanding the cooperation that has made possible the archaeological work.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune (26 February 2009)

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