The high Andes of western South America feature extreme ecological conditions that impose important physiological constraints on humans including high-elevation hypoxia and cold stress. This leads to questions regarding how these environments were colonized by the first waves of humans that reached them during the late Pleistocene. Based on previous research, and aided by human behavioral ecology principles, we assess hunter-gatherer behavioral strategies in the Andean highlands during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Specifically, we formulate three mobility strategies and their archaeological expectations and test these using technological and subsistence evidence from the six earliest well-dated highland sites in northern Chile. Our results suggest that all of the studied sites were temporarily occupied for hunting, processing animals, and toolkit maintenance. The sites also exhibit shared technological features within a curatorial strategy albeit with different occupation intensities. From this evidence, we infer that the initial occupations of the highlands were logistical and probably facilitated by increased local resource availability during a period of environmental amelioration.
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