The Amazon rainforest is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, as well as numerous indigenous tribes. However, it is not widely known that there were also ancient civilizations that once lived in and around the Amazon.
The Marajoara Civilization
One such civilization was the Marajoara, who inhabited the Marajó Island in Brazil from around 400 AD to 1400 AD. They were known for their distinctive ceramic art, which often depicted animals such as jaguars and birds. The Marajoara also built large mounds, which may have served as platforms for their homes or ceremonial structures.
Their Society and Economy
The Marajoara were a stratified society, with a ruling elite who likely controlled the production and distribution of goods. They were skilled farmers and fishermen, and also traded with other societies along the Amazon River. Evidence suggests that they had a complex religious system, with shamans playing an important role in their society.
The Tapajonica Civilization
Another ancient civilization that lived around the Amazon was the Tapajonica. They inhabited the lower Tapajós River region in Brazil from around 500 BC to 1500 AD. Like the Marajoara, they were skilled artisans and produced intricate pottery.
The Tapajonica were also a stratified society, with evidence suggesting that there was a ruling elite who controlled access to resources such as land and waterways. They practiced agriculture on raised fields known as “terra preta,” which is still used by indigenous peoples in the region today. The Tapajonica also traded extensively with other societies along the Amazon River.
The Caral-Supe Civilization
Moving away from Brazil to Peru, we find another ancient civilization that existed around the Amazon: the Caral-Supe civilization. This civilization inhabited the Supe Valley on the north-central coast of Peru from around 2600 BC to 2000 BC.
The Caral-Supe were known for their impressive stone architecture, including pyramids and plazas. They were also skilled farmers, growing crops such as cotton, beans, and squash. Evidence suggests that they had a complex society with a ruling elite who controlled access to resources such as land and water.
These are just a few examples of the ancient civilizations that lived in and around the Amazon. While they may be less well-known than other ancient civilizations such as the Maya or the Inca, they were no less sophisticated or important. By studying these civilizations, we can gain a better understanding of the rich history and culture of the Amazon region.