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More on the 10,400 year history of human habitation in the Bolivian Amazon

August 31, 2013

Here’s a follow-up article (below) related to the one I just posted on the dating old forest islands in the Moxos region of the Bolivian Amazon

From NBC News Science

Humans explored ‘Treasure Island’ much earlier than thought

Charles Q. Choi

Aug. 28, 2013 at 6:29 PM ET

Ancient trash heaps in Bolivia used for millennia now suggest humans explored the western Amazon as early as 10,000 years ago, researchers say.

This discovery adds to the evidence that people made it deep into the Americas much earlier than previously thought, scientists added.

Scientists concentrated on a tropical savannah region in the Bolivian Amazon that past researchers thought was too harsh of an environment for ancient peoples to inhabit. Hundreds of small, forested mounts of earth known as “forest islands” dot these lowlands, which are seasonally flooded by water. These forest islands were typically thought of as natural in origin — for instance, as landforms cut away by shifting rivers, or long-term termite mounds or bird rookeries.

Now, investigators have found that three of these forested islands are shell middens — piles of freshwater snail shells left by human settlers more than 10,000 years ago, according to carbon dating. The newfound site “is the oldest archaeological site in southern and western Amazonia,” said researcher Umberto Lombardo, a geographer at the University of Bern in Switzerland. “This discovery alters the map of early human occupations in South America.”

Read full article here

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