A record-low Amazon River has uncovered ancient carvings in Brazil, giving insight into centuries-old civilizations.
The carvings, mostly of human faces, animals and other natural forms, are estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, reported The Guardian. They were found along a portion of the Amazon River called “Rio Negro,” or “Black River,” in northern Brazil by Venezuela.
A previous drought in 2010 exposed some of these carved faces. But with the record-low levels now, even more of these carvings are revealed, giving archaeologists a deeper view into the pre-colonial culture, per Reuters.
“This is an archeological site we classify as of high importance, due to the diversity we have,” Jaime de Santana Oliveira, an archaeologist at the Natural Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute, told Reuters.
The carved faces are oval, round and square, among depictions of waves and other natural phenomena. The area is also surrounded by deep indentations that Oliveira said were used to sharpen spears and other weapons.
Ceramic fragments have also been found at the site, per The Guardian.
Archeologist Filippo Stampanoni Bassi said the site “tells the region’s ancient Indigenous history and must be treated with respect by all of us who live in Manaus today,” per The Guardian.
What was the year of the worst drought in Brazilian history?
This year brings the worst drought in the capital of Amazonas state, Manaus, in the state’s recorded history of 121 years, reported The Associated Press. There, 633,000 people are under a state of emergency as the dried river has ruined their means of transportation, blocking their ability to get food, fresh water and other necessities.
The Amazon River levels have dropped to a dangerous depth of nearly 42 feet, per The Guardian.
Why is Brazil in drought?
Scientists have attributed the unusually dry season of the Amazon to the El Niño weather pattern that is warming the North Atlantic Ocean, along with climate change, René Garreaud, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Chile, told NASA.
“Overall, this is a pretty unusual and extreme situation,” Garreaud said.
These conditions are also being blamed for the recent rapid intensification of hurricanes this season, including Hurricane Otis, which hit Acapulco, Mexico, this week.
How does drought affect the Amazon rainforest?
The drought can have resounding effects on the surrounding vegetation of the rainforest, including the timing and yield of flowers and fruits, per the U.S. Climate Adaptation Science Centers.
This in turn affects wildlife in the drought-affected areas, like the many river dolphins that have been killed already in the Amazon.