Earthworks of the Amazon

  • Claide de Paula MoraesEmail author
  • Eduardo Góes Neves
Living reference work entry


Amazonian Indians have been leaving marks of their activities for the last 13 thousand years. In this long history of interaction, significant marks were printed in the territory. Here will be presented a series of positive and negative topographical modifications that, in some cases, after millennia of its construction, still remain visible. These anthropogenic and long-lasting topographical modifications will be classified as “earthworks.” The term encompasses different categories of structures, with distinct functionalities, not necessarily related in time and space.


Earthwoks are positive (when there is an accumulation of earth) and negative (when the earth was dug out) topographical interventions done by people in the past with sufficient intensity to be recognizable today. In the Amazon, Earthworks include different categories of structures with distinct features, most commonly related to water management, aquatic wildlife management, mobility, defense,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claide de Paula Moraes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eduardo Góes Neves
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Oeste do ParáSantaremBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Arqueologia dos Trópicos, Museu de Arqueologia e EtnologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ndukukhaye Ndlovu
    • 1
  1. 1.Newcastle UniversityNewcastleUK