The hunter gatherers in the Amazon were engaged in agriculture more than 6,000 years ago.

The experts examined an archaeological site in the southwestern Amazon and found evidence suggesting that it was an important region in the early history of the crop. They believe that the Teotonio waterfall (in the image) attracted people to this place for more than 9,000 years.

The hunter-gatherers in the Amazon had made the switch to agriculture more than 6,000 years ago, centuries before it was thought.

The experts examined an archaeological site in the southwestern Amazon and found evidence suggesting that it was an important region in the early history of the crop.

The layers of recently exposed soil revealed evidence of cultivation and artifacts used to process food that goes back to 8,000 years ago.

The findings suggest that the human impact on Amazonian forests in this region goes back many thousands of years, they say.

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The experts examined an archaeological site in the southwestern Amazon and found evidence suggesting that it was an important region in the early history of the crop. They believe that the Teotonio waterfall (in the image) attracted people to this place for more than 9,000 years.

The experts examined an archaeological site in the southwestern Amazon and found evidence suggesting that it was an important region in the early history of the crop. They believe that the Teotonio waterfall (in the image) attracted people to this place for more than 9,000 years.

Researchers from the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, analyzed the soil and remains of fossilized crops that date back about 9,000 years.

The findings were made at the archaeological site of Teotonio, an open cliff 130 feet (40 meters) high above the Upper Madeira River.

It has been described by researchers as a "microcosm of human occupation" because it preserves an almost continuous record of human cultures in the area dating back nine millennia.

The experts analyzed the remains of starch grains, seeds, phytoliths (minute mineral particles formed inside a plant) and other plant materials in the oldest soils of the site.

The Teotonio waterfall was an extremely rich fishing spot and a regular stop for people traveling by boat on this stretch of the Madeira River. The arrow marks the site of the archaeological site where the findings were made

The Teotonio waterfall was an extremely rich fishing spot and a regular stop for people traveling by boat on this stretch of the Madeira River. The arrow marks the site of the archaeological site where the findings were made

The Teotonio waterfall was an extremely rich fishing spot and a regular stop for people traveling by boat on this stretch of the Madeira River. The arrow marks the site of the archaeological site where the findings were made

The layers of recently exposed soil revealed evidence of cultivation and artifacts used to process food that goes back to 8,000 years ago. This image shows a view of the Madeira River from the Teotonio site

The layers of recently exposed soil revealed evidence of cultivation and artifacts used to process food that goes back to 8,000 years ago. This image shows a view of the Madeira River from the Teotonio site

The layers of recently exposed soil revealed evidence of cultivation and artifacts used to process food that goes back to 8,000 years ago. This image shows a view of the Madeira River from the Teotonio site

They found some of the earliest evidence of cultivated cassava, a crop that geneticists say was domesticated here more than 8,000 years ago.

Later crops included squash, beans and perhaps calathea, and important tree crops such as palms and Brazil nuts.

They also saw evidence of disturbed forest and a type of soil called "Anthropogenic dark lands", which result from the human alteration of local environments.

Lead author Jennifer Watling said: "This discovery in the Teotonio waterfall in the southeast of the Amazon is one of the oldest tests for growing plants in the lowlands of South America, confirming the genetic evidence."

The experts analyzed the remains of starch grains (in the photo), seeds, phytoliths - minute mineral particles formed inside a plant - and other plant materials in the oldest soils of the site

The experts analyzed the remains of starch grains (in the photo), seeds, phytoliths - minute mineral particles formed inside a plant - and other plant materials in the oldest soils of the site

The experts analyzed the remains of starch grains (in the photo), seeds, phytoliths – minute mineral particles formed inside a plant – and other plant materials in the oldest soils of the site

They found some of the earliest evidence of cultivated cassava, a crop that geneticists say was domesticated here more than 8,000 years ago. This image shows selected phytoliths and macro-stands found in soils in Teotonio

They found some of the earliest evidence of cultivated cassava, a crop that geneticists say was domesticated here more than 8,000 years ago. This image shows selected phytoliths and macro-stands found in soils in Teotonio

They found some of the earliest evidence of cultivated cassava, a crop that geneticists say was domesticated here more than 8,000 years ago. This image shows selected phytoliths and macro-stands found in soils in Teotonio

Later crops included squash, beans and perhaps calathea, and important tree crops such as palms and Brazil nuts. This image shows stone artifacts used to process food

Later crops included squash, beans and perhaps calathea, and important tree crops such as palms and Brazil nuts. This image shows stone artifacts used to process food

Later crops included squash, beans and perhaps calathea, and important tree crops such as palms and Brazil nuts. This image shows stone artifacts used to process food

Genetic analysis of plant species has targeted the lowlands of southwestern Amazonia as a key region in the early history of plant domestication in the Americas.

Systematic archaeological evidence to support this has been rare, however.

These findings suggest that people in this region moved from early hunter-gatherer lifestyles to cultivating crops before 6,000 years ago, the researchers concluded.

Along with the domestication of plants, they also discovered evidence of the familiar human habit of landscape modification.

These results point to Upper Madeira as a key location to explore the first days of the domestication of crops in the New World.

The full findings of the study were published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The findings were made at the archaeological site of Teotonio, an open cliff 130 feet (40 meters) high on the Upper Madeira River in Brazil.

The findings were made at the archaeological site of Teotonio, an open cliff 130 feet (40 meters) high on the Upper Madeira River in Brazil.

The findings were made at the archaeological site of Teotonio, an open cliff 130 feet (40 meters) high on the Upper Madeira River in Brazil.

WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN THE AMAZON BEFORE THE EUROPEAN ESTABLISHMENTS?

The parts of the Amazon that were thought to have been uninhabited hosted prosperous populations of up to one million people since 1250 AD, the researchers found.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence that there were up to 1,500 fortified villages in the rainforest far from the main rivers of the Amazon, two thirds of which have not yet been discovered.

This area was occupied continuously from 1250 to 1500 AD, after which the population decreases drastically.

"They were probably affected by European diseases even before the European settlers set foot in the area as their diseases spread very quickly," Dr. Jonas Gregorio de Souza, of the Department of Archeology at the University of Exeter, told MailOnline. .

"With the Portuguese settlements in the area there was later direct violence and slavery, this was the final coup de grace for them," he said.

Dr. Gregorio de Souza said that the researchers did not know how fast the decline was or how many of the individuals managed to survive.

Experts estimate that there would have been between 1,000 and 1,500 closed villages, and two thirds of these sites have not yet been found.

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