The Amazon rainforest is not thought to have been a hotbed of human activity until recent times, but a new discovery suggests otherwise.
Researchers examining the area via drones have found more 450 large-scale, Stonehenge-like earthworks, also known as geoglyphs, in the northwestern reaches of Brazil, reports The Telegraph.
Extensive scientific analysis of the land revealed that the carefully executed ditches date back as far as 2,000 years and well before European contact, notes Tech Times.
The results also indicated that humans had manipulated the rainforests not only for the purposes of creating clearings, but for encouraging the proliferation of preferred species as well.
Study participant Dr. Jennifer Watling, a researcher at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography in São Paulo, noted, “Our evidence that Amazonian forests have been managed by indigenous peoples long before European contact should not be cited as justification for the destructive, unsustainable land-use practiced today.
It should instead 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.”