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Human presence dating back 4,000 years found in Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro: Some 500 artefacts made from stone and shells that experts consider vestiges of a human presence in Brazil dating back about 4,000 years were found during excavation for an expansion of the Rio de Janeiro subway.

The artefacts were found at an archaeological site near the port and downtown area, the Rio de Janeiro state government said.

Digs in the area began in 2013 as part of the subway expansion project, which the city pledged to complete when it was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

The site, which was preserved to allow a team of archaeologists hired by the construction company to do its work, has yielded 50 stone artefacts and about 400 seashell instruments.

The artefacts are typical of those made by the primitive nomadic groups that moved across the Rio region long before the first indigenous peoples settled in the area, state officials said.

“These are pieces between 3,000 and 4,000 years old from the period when paleo-Indians who roamed the territory around the Guanabara Bay were hunters, fishermen, gatherers and nomads, and had not organised into tribes yet,” the government said in a statement.

Experts have identified spearheads and tools, such as primitive hammers, axes and scrapers, used to take meat off animal hides and to work stones.

“The prehistoric items will help us to understand an important part of the process of primitive population in Rio de Janeiro,” said archaeologist Claudio Prada de Mello, coordinator of the team that retrieved the artefacts.

“To find something like this in downtown Rio de Janeiro, an area that has undergone several cycles of settlement and transformation, is fantastic,” the archaeologist said.

(IANS)

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Illegal Loggers Threaten ‘Uncontacted Indigenous Tribes’ In The Amazon

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging.

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Members of an uncontacted Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru. VOA

Illegal loggers and militias cleared an area three times the size of Gibraltar in Brazil’s Amazon this year, threatening an “uncontacted” indigenous tribe, activists said on Tuesday.

Satellite imagery collected by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian advocacy group, detected about 4,600 acres (1,863 hectares) of deforestation this year in the Ituna Itata indigenous land in northern Para state.

“This situation is very worrying,” Juan Doblas, senior geo-processing analyst at ISA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is a series of risks, not only to indigenous territories of uncontacted tribes, but also to other indigenous territories in the area.”

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Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest. Wikimedia Commons

The indigenous affairs agency Funai and the federal police were not immediately available to comment. The environmental protection agency Ibama said in a statement that official data on Amazon deforestation will be released in November.

Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, some of the last on earth, depend on large areas of unspoiled forest land to hunt animals and gather the food they need to survive.

They are particularly vulnerable when their land rights are threatened because they lack the natural immunity to diseases that are carried by outsiders, rights groups say.

Forest loss in Ituna Itata — from which outsiders were banned in 2011 to protect the uncontacted tribe — spiked to about 2,000 acres in August from 7 acres in May, said ISA, which has monitored the area through satellites since January.

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This Sept. 15, 2009 file photo shows a deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil’s northern state of Para.. VOA

South America’s largest country is grappling with scores of deadly land conflicts, illustrating the tensions between preserving indigenous culture and economic development.

ISA filed a complaint in April to federal and state authorities about forest destruction and illegal logging in the area during the rainy season, which is unusual, said Doblas.

“It was a sign that something very serious was going to happen,” he said. “It was a preparation for the invasion.”

Also Read: Spix’s Macaw Parrot from Brazil Is Now Extinct

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging, he said, adding that ISA plans to file another complaint this week, using updated data and satellite images. (VOA)

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