Report

Amazonia 1492: Pristine Forest or Cultural Parkland?

Science  19 Sep 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5640, pp. 1710-1714
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086112

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Abstract

Archaeology and indigenous history of Native Amazonian peoples in the Upper Xingu region of Brazil reveal unexpectedly complex regional settlement patterns and large-scale transformations of local landscapes over the past millennium. Mapping and excavation of archaeological structures document pronounced human-induced alteration of the forest cover, particularly in relation to large, dense late-prehistoric settlements (circa 1200 to 1600 A.D.). The findings contribute to debates on human carrying capacity, population size and settlement patterns, anthropogenic impacts on the environment, and the importance of indigenous knowledge, as well as contributing to the pride of place of the native peoples in this part of the Amazon.

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