University of Exeter

Satellites uncover 81 pre-Columbian settlements in the Amazon

Scientists used to think that tropical forests like the Amazon were no-go zones for humans, but the truth is, people have been settling the Amazon long before Christopher Columbus sailed the high seas. Now, using satellite images, scientists have discovered 81 new archaeological sites along the southern rim of the Amazon, in places once thought to be sparsely populated because of their distance from major rivers, The Washington Post reports. Charcoal excavated at one of the sites was dated to about 1400 to 1450 C.E.—bolstering the argument that humans have impacted Amazonian landscapes for centuries, the researchers report today in Nature Communications.

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