Archeologists in Brazil are saying a 2019 discovery could rewrite the nation’s history.

In 2009, Construction workers in northeastern Brazil stumbled upon a significant archaeological discovery, including human remains, pottery shards and thousands of other artifacts throughout the area while preparing to build a new apartment complex.

Archaeologists were called in to assess the site, known as Chacara Rosane, and found the artifacts were from around 9,000 years ago.

The lead archaeologist on the dig, Wellington Lage, said he had yet to learn what he was getting into when Brazilian construction giant MRV hired his company, WLage Arqueologia, in 2019 to conduct an impact study at the site. It was part of the routine procedure of preparing to build an apartment building.

“We’ve been working four years now, and we’ve barely scratched the surface,” Lage said.

Reports suggest four distinct eras of occupation at the site, all of which came before colonial occupation.

“But the most important is the oldest, called “pre-sambaqui,” because it rewrites the history of Brazil.”

According to reports, Lage’s team has unearthed 43 human skeletons and more than 100,000 artifacts over the last four years. Brazil’s Institute for National Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) referred to the discoveries as a superb haul of bones and artifacts.

The upper archaeological layer at the site comprised numerous Tupinamba artifacts, one of the various Tupi ethnic groups that inhabited present-day Brazil since before the region’s conquest by Portuguese colonial settlers in the early 17th century.

Below the top layer, Lage’s team identified artifacts of the Amazonian people; beneath this, they found a sambaqui mound of discarded bones, shells, and pottery. It was beneath this mound, at around two meters (6.5 ft) deep, ceramics were found as far back as “8,000 to 9,000 years old.

According to Lage, this early date precedes the oldest mound in the region, which dates back 6,600 years ago. Lage also believes that the 8,000 to 9,000-year-old dating indicates that the region of modern-day Brazil was settled around 1,400 years earlier than previously thought.

He also stated that it could completely change the history of not just the region but all of Brazil. Archaeologists now plan to date the artifacts more precisely using isotopic analysis.