Findings from archaeology to sequester carbon and make cleared jungle soil fertile for longer
It has long been assumed that the writings of Francisco de Orellana, who described the Amazon lowlands along the early 1540s as richly populated with villages, were greatly exaggerated – after all, it was mainly hunters, gatherers and slash-and-burn farmers who later roamed the forest in these areas. It was clay shards that first aroused the interest of archaeologists and provided clues that vast areas of land were populated quite differently before the demographic catastrophe triggered by pathogens than in the centuries that followed.
But in contrast to the cities and sacral buildings made of stone in Mesoamerica and in the Inca Empire, the buildings of the South American lowland Indians made of organic material were already overgrown by the forest a few years after the collapse of the societies and left hardly any visible traces. It was not until a targeted search was carried out that, in addition to shards of clay, a soil was found that was clearly different from the standard yellow-brown soil in the Amazon lowlands – the black terra preta.