Quito – French and Ecuadorian archaeologists discovered in Ecuador's Pastaza province the nearly 3,000-year-old remains of what appears to be the oldest home in the Amazon region, the project chief told Efe.
"We found postholes and stoves and a few vestiges of ceramics and stones," Stephen Rostain said.
He said they found the place near Puy two years ago and set up the camp in July when they excavated a meter (3 feet) deep over an area of some 90 square meters (970 square feet).
"Stoves built with stones are generally extremely old, from the Formative Period (1800 B.C.-500 A.D.). We took some samples that go back to a date some 3,000 years ago, and this year we found all the marks of the posts and some materials, with which we could reconstruct how the house looked," he said.
With a diagram of the site, Rostain showed black dots that he said represented postholes.
"Connecting the dots, we have an oval house, similar to today's houses, but this house is 3,000 years old. It is the most ancient house in the entire Amazon region...more ancient even than those we know in Brazil," he said.
The "greatest discovery," he said, was finding that whoever built the house used an upside-down tree trunk as a post, which is stuck down into the aquifer: "That economizes human labor, there's no need to cut the trunk, it's stuck in directly and in that way the tree doesn't grow any more in the ground," he said.
"Seeing the plants they ate we'll get to know their diet, with the ceramics we'll understand their art," and from the kind of place they built the house, we'll get an idea of their relationship with the environment, he said.