US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A team of ecologists and archaeologists from Mato Grosso State University in Brazil and Exeter University in the UK have discovered a large number of abandoned dark lands in the Amazon. The analysis showed that these were fields in which people applied fertilizers 5,000 years ago.
The study was published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, and is briefly described on the website of the University of Exeter. Scientists conducted a study whose purpose was to identify the role of ancient farmers in the formation of the modern landscape of the Amazon.
They drew attention to the fact that along the Amazon River there are many forest areas, which in their species composition are significantly different from the surrounding territories.
Scientists have discovered thousands of such sites, most of which turned out to be the size of a small field. They excavated, which showed that in these areas the topsoil, in contrast to relict forests, is very dark, almost black.
In addition, the remains of charcoal and ceramics were found in these soil layers. These samples were studied in laboratories. Some of them are about 5,000 years old. Scientists also studied about 4,000 thousand trees that grow on dark lands and near them, on ordinary soil. It turned out that trees dominate on dark lands, the fruits of which can be eaten.
All this led researchers to the conclusion that the dark lands were artificially created by man. Charcoal, ceramics and other fertilizers have been intentionally introduced into the soil for millennia. This contributed to the creation of a diverse ecosystem with a richer set of plant species.
Dark lands stretch for a thousand kilometers. It is not yet established who exactly created them, and when they were abandoned. The study proved that people have not used dark lands for a very long time.
“By creating dark land, the early inhabitants of Amazonia could successfully cultivate the soil for millennia,” said Professor Jose Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter. ”
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