The excavations are taking place inside a construction site in Sao Luis, in the state of Maranhao.
Quickly, excavations at the site in the coastal town of Sao Luis uncovered thousands of ancient artifacts that could date back to 9000 years old. A treasure which, according to archaeologists, could rewrite the history of human settlement in Brazil.
Archaeologists perform a 3D scan of a skeleton.
The archaeologist leading the excavation, Wellington Lage, admits he had no idea what awaited him when Brazilian construction giant MRV called on his company, W Lage Arqueologia, to 2019, to conduct a study on the site, a classic procedure before the construction of housing.
Covered with tropical vegetation and bordered by the constantly growing urban fabric expansion of Sao Luis, capital of the state of Maranhao, the land extends over six hectares.
During his research, Mr. Lage learned that intriguing discoveries had been made there as early as the 1970s, including a piece of a human jaw in 1991.
Flood zones: bad news awaits local residents in 2024
ELSE ON INFO: Flood zones: bad news awaits local residents in 2024< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">His team quickly found much more: quantities of stone tools, ceramic shards and bones.
Archaeologists examine ceramic fragments found during excavations at a construction site in Sao Luis.
In four years of excavations, 43 human skeletons and more than 100,000 ancient objects were unearthed, according to the Brazilian Institute of History and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) , who announced this grandiose discovery a few days ago.
Researchers will now inventory the objects and analyze them in detail, before exhibiting them and publishing their findings.
We've been working for four years now, and we've barely scratched the surface, insists Mr. Lage, 70, a native of Sao Paulo, whose wife and two children are also archaeologists.
The first discoveries are already attracting the attention of the scientific community.
Mr. Lage says his team – now 27 members, including archaeologists, chemists, a historian and a documentarian – has documented four different eras at the site.
The upper layer was left by the Tupinamba people, who lived in the area when European settlers founded Sao Luis in 1612.
Next comes a layer of ancient objects typical of the people of the Amazon rainforest, followed by a sambaqui: a pile of pottery, shards and bones used by certain communities indigenous people to build their houses or bury their dead.
Below, about two meters deep, is another layer, left by a group that made rudimentary ceramics and lived there an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 years ago.
It's much older than the oldest presambaqui found so far in the region, which dates back around 6,600 years, points out M. Lage.< /p>
For him, this could completely change the history not only of the region, but of all of Brazil.
Scientists have long debated when and how the first humans arrived in the Americas from Asia.
The discoveries of this specialist suggest that they would have settled in this region of present-day Brazil at least 1400 years earlier than what seemed established.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Archaeologists are planning more in-depth analyzes to date the objects more precisely.
The site already represents a milestone in Brazilian prehistory, detailed the &x27; IPHAN in a press release.
For this organization, it is a testimony to the long history of human settlement in the region, revealing an earlier past to the times already documented.
Archaeologist Arkley Bandeira, of the Federal University of Maranhao, who is building a laboratory and museum for housing this treasure with funding from the MRV group, also emphasizes that the site could provide valuable information on the culture and history of ancient peoples who have been submerged for so long.
According to him, these discoveries play a crucial role in telling the story of our long history.