Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Mining Could Destroy Prehistoric Caves in Brazil

Thursday, December 20, 2012

CARAJÀS, BRAZIL—The remote caves of Carajàs contain some of the earliest evidence of human settlement in the Amazon, but they are threatened by plans to expand a mining operation that extracts iron ore for export. Archaeologists and speleologists are surveying the caves, since at least 24 of them will probably be destroyed. “This is a crucial moment to learn about the human history of the Amazon, and by extension the peopling of the Americas,” said Brazilian caver and historian Genival Crescêncio.