Researchers has found hundreds of mysterious structures built into the Earth more than two thousand years ago have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. The truly incredible earthworks have long remained hidden by trees however; deforestation in recent years has discovered over 450 massive geoglyphs. Though, the purpose of stone structure is not known, but believed ditched enclosures were perhaps used sporadically as ritual gathering places. These ditches resemble to Stonehenge approximately 13,000 square kilometers in the western Brazilian Amazon, thought untouched as previously believed.
The real phenomena lay hidden for many centuries underneath mature rainforest actually challenges the idea that Amazonian forests are pristine ecosystem. The region actually forested when the geoglyphs were built, or people impacted the landscape to build these earthworks. Therefore, the researchers reconstructed 6,000 years of vegetation and fire history around two of the geoglyph sites, enlightening heavy alterations by ancient humans. The history tells that humans altered the bamboo forests for millennia, creating small, temporary clearings to build these mysterious structures. The analyzed “phytoliths” a type of microscopic plant fossil made of silica.
So, this allowed them to rebuild the ancient vegetation and charcoal quantities, assess the amount of forest burning and carbon stable isotopes, and determine how ‘open’ the vegetation used to be. Moreover, the search exposed that the indigenous people didn’t burn large tracts of forest, whether for geoglyph construction or agricultural practices. In its place, they concentrated on economically valuable tree species, such as palms, transforming their environment in the process to make a “prehistoric supermarket.” Thus, the biodiversity of few Acre’s remaining forests may have roots in these ancient ‘agroforestry’ practices, the researchers say.
So, hence the findings will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Regardless of the massive number and bulk of geoglyph sites in the region, it can certain that Acre’s forests were never cleared as broadly, or for as long, as they have been in recent years. The current evidence that Amazonian forests have been managed by indigenous peoples long before European contact should not be cited as justification for the destructive, unmaintainable land-use practiced today. Moreover it should in its place serve to highlight the ingenuity of past subsistence regimes that did not lead to forest degradation, and the importance of indigenous knowledge for finding more sustainable land-use alternatives.