Evidence of the people of the Azores 700 years earlier than thought

Scenery of Pico Island (foreground) and Faial Island (background). Credit: Santiago Giralt

An international team of researchers have found evidence that people lived on the islands of the Azores about 700 years earlier than previous evidence showed. In their treatise Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences, The group describes a study of sediment cores taken from lakes on several islands in the archipelago.

With no other evidence, historians believe that people first arrived in the Azores in 1427, when the Portuguese sailor Diogo de Sylves landed on Santa Maria Island. Shortly thereafter, other people arrived from Portugal, making the archipelago their hometown. In this new initiative, researchers found evidence that humans lived on several islands in the Azores about 700 years ago.

Wanting to know more about the history of the Azores, researchers began collecting Sediment sample From some lakes above Islands Then study them to see what they reveal. Sediment samples serve as historical evidence as substances in the air fall to the surface. lake And to the bottom of the lake, over time, it will be covered with a layer of new sediment.

Analysis of sediment cores showed an increase in 5-beta-stigmasterol in the core layer between 700 and 850 AD taken from Lake Peixinho. This compound is usually found in the feces of livestock such as cows and sheep. Neither lived in the Azores before humans arrived. They also saw the charcoal particle uptick ( Big fire (Burning) with a native tree pollen dip. The findings suggest that someone burned down the forest to provide more land for livestock. Researchers have found similar evidence in cores taken from Lake Cardeiran on another island, which appeared about a century later.And they found evidence of non-conventional ryegrass Sediment Taken from a lake on the third island.

Evidence of the people of the Azores found 700 years earlier than thought

Lake Caldera in the collapsed caldera on Corvo Island. Credit: Santiago Giralt

Findings provide strong evidence of human inhabitation Island Hundreds of years before the arrival of the Portuguese. Researchers have theorized that they were probably Norse sailors, noting their achievements in sailing up and down the coasts of many parts of Europe.

Dogger Littoral’s sediment core suggests that Dogger Island survived the ancient tsunami

For more information:
Pedro M. Raposeiro et al, climate change promoted the early colonization of the medieval Azores. Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2108236118

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Evidence of the people of the Azores 700 years earlier than thought

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