Up to a million people once lived in parts of the Amazon previously thought to have been uninhabited, according to new findings. Working in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, a team led by archaeologists at the University of Exeter unearthed hundreds of villages hidden in the depths of the rainforest. These excavations included evidence of fortifications and mysterious earthworks called geoglyphs. The discovery supports the theory that millions of people lived in the Amazon prior to the arrival of Europeans — who eradicated much of the indigenous population through a combination of disease and warfare. Early estimates for the population of the Amazon prior to the arrival of Europeans were therefore fairly conservative — around one million for the entire region. However, the new findings suggest the occupation of the Amazon was far more extensive, with settlements spreading far inland.
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