February 16, 2021

New Research Finds in the Ancient Amazon

Excavations in the Bolivian Amazon site of Versalles has provided archaeologists with the first evidence that ancient Amazonian people built wooden palisades and earthworks to protect homes and the enriched soil they created called Terra Preta. The Amazonians had a long term soil management strategy to maintain the soil while growing maize and manioc, and fruit trees. They created Terra Preta by burning and mulching, and depositing organic waste.

The inhabitants of Versalles began their Terra Preta work at 500 BCE. They built embankments and ditches around their site at 1300 CE. And built palisades at 1628 CE.

The ancient Amazonian populations engaged In large scale village and farming communities in the jungles starting at a very early time and re-shaped the rainforest in a large way.

The research is published in Geoarcheaology.
More information: Mark Robinson et al, Anthropogenic soil and settlement organization in the Bolivian Amazon, Geoarchaeology (2020).  DOI: 10.1002/gea.21839
Provided by University of Exeter

Phys.org has the report here;

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