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September 22, 2003

Amazon civilization

Conjecture about a large-scale, complex pre-Columbian Amazonian civilization has intrigued me for some time (no, not these Amazons). Now there appears to be proof:

Deep in the Amazon forest of Brazil, archaeologists have found a network of 1,000-year-old towns and villages that refutes two long-held notions: that the pre-Columbian tropical rain forest was a pristine environment that had not been altered by humans, and that the rain forest could not support a complex, sophisticated society.

And then... IPS News has more:

The study, directed by archaeologist Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida, debunks the notions that the Amazon was a virgin forest when the Europeans reached the Americas in the 15th century and that barren soils had made massive human settlements impossible.

The Upper Xingú, in Mato Grosso state, was settled by Kuikuro Indians in the 9th and 10th centuries, according to evidence in ceramics, organic materials and other objects that archaeologists have uncovered.

The discoveries indicate the existence of ”large villages, surrounded by ditches and palisades, forming a defensive structures” during the 14th and 15th centuries and the early 16th century, Brazilian ethnologist Carlos Fausto, a member of the research team, told Tierramérica.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 22, 2003 09:10 AM