Around the modern city of Santarém evidence of the Tapajós culture can be found. The culture was at its height from AD 1000 to1600 and is well known for its elaborate pottery vessels belonging to the Incised Punctuate Tradition. Living in densely populated settlements, each with several thousand inhabitants, the Tapajós controlled a territory of 23 sq km. 16th and 17th century Spanish explorers were amazed by the power of the Tapajós chiefs and by the natural and cultural richness of the area. The once powerful Tapajós chiefdom provides an outstanding opportunity to understand the origin, development and agricultural use of the Amazonian Dark Earth (ADEs), the highly modified anthropogenic soils associated with intensive farming.