March 29, 2018

New Research; Ancient Amazon Population in the Millions

New research into the ancient Amazon has discovered 81 sites in the upper Amazon, which was thought to be very sparsely inhabited in ancient times. As it turns out, millions of people lived there. The 81 sites were discovered by satellite imagery, and the effects of deforestation. The archaeological team investigating the satellite imagery then searched the area on foot at 24 of the locations so far, and found they were all inhabited sites. The peak of the activity has been dated to 1250-1500 CE. They have found ceramics, polished stones, and soil engineered by the inhabitants for abundant crops. Some of the sites are not near major rivers, but close to smaller streams, creeks and springs. The southern rim of the Amazon alone could have been home to 500,000-1 million people. What were thought to be isolated villages were actually connected by a stretch of human settlements 1,100 miles long, east to west. Ceramic styles differ along this stretch, thus showing that peoples along this stretch had differing cultures. 60% of this stretch has yet to be researched.
European arrival killed off the majority of these people with devastating diseases.

The Guardian has the report here;
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/mar/27/lost-amazon-villages-uncovered-by-archaeologists

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