15 Apr '11, 6pm
12,000-Year-Old Textile Fragments Found in Peruvian Cave Are South America's Oldest
T-shirt from high school is old? Archaeologists have unearthed fabric and rope fragments that date as far back as 12,000 years in the past, making them the oldest known textiles in South America, according to a report in the April 2011 issue of Current Anthropology . Although the textiles were recovered from a cave in the Andes three decades ago, their age was largely unknown. Researchers chose to estimate the age of the site by taking radiocarbon dates from bone, obsidian, and charcoal —articles that can sometimes produce iffy results, says Edward Jolie, an archaeologist at Mercyhurst College who led the current team. Charcoal especially can overestimate a site’s age, he adds.