(TibetanReview.net, Jan22’22) – Ancient human hand and foot impressions discovered in 1998 near Tibet’s capital Lhasa could be the earliest human relics to be found anywhere in the world, reported China’s official global.chinadaily.com.cn Jan 21. This is seen as an opportunity to boost tourism in the locality, which could also mean more Chinese settlers moving to the area.
The discoveries have been listed among the Top 10 New Archaeological Discoveries of the World in 2021 by Archaeology, a publication by the Archaeological Institute of America, the report said.
The report cited research as showing these ancient human relics could be 160,000 and 200,000 years old, making them possibly the earliest human relics to be found anywhere in the world.
The impressions were stated to have been discovered by scientists from Guangzhou University at a location not far from a hot spring in the village of Chusang, which literally translates as “good water”, in the suburbs of Tibet’s ancient capital Lhasa.
The discoveries are seen as strong evidence of permanent or seasonal human habitation in the plateau region.
Chusang is home to a medicinal hot spring, much sought after by tourists and those with skin diseases, the report said.
The village is also famous as the birthplace of Yuthok Yonten Gonpo (729-853), the founder of the traditional Tibetan medicine and the author of its medical treatise, the report said. [There appears to be a mix-up here between Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Elder and Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Younger who were both lama-physicians who lived centuries apart].
The impressions were known to the local Tibetans, who considered them holy, left behind by Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 AD), the founder of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism, the report noted.
The news of the place being included among the top 10 discoveries was reported to have excited the local Tibetans for its tourism opportunity. However, this could also mean a horde of Chinese settlers moving to the locality to grab most of the opportunity.