- An ancient civilization hidden in the Amazon rainforest was revealed with lidar technology.
- This 2,500-year-old structure is the oldest and largest example of an agricultural civilization ever recorded in the dense rainforests of South America.
- The authors of the study stated that the discovery made Amazonia’s environmental, cultural and therefore indigenous heritage has been underestimated for years.
Archaeologists used lasers to image an ancient civilization hidden in the Amazon rainforest. Lasers have revealed an intricate network of pre-Hispanic structures and roads hidden in the Amazon’s jungles. This 2,500-year-old structure is the oldest and largest example of an agricultural civilization ever recorded in the dense rainforests of South America.
Archaeologists have been studying the Upano Valley in the eastern Andes for decades. on Thursday, January 11 Science In a study published in the journal Ecuador, it was not realized how advanced the civilization here actually was until the land began to be scanned with aerial lidar (light detection and ranging). With lidar technology, thousands of infrared laser signals were repeatedly projected onto the terrain to reveal structures hidden beneath vegetation.
“I have traveled around the area many times, but lidar gave me another view of the land,” the study’s lead author, Stéphen Rostain, an archaeologist and director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), told Live Science in an interview. “As you walk on foot, trees appear in front of you and it becomes difficult to see what is really hidden there.” said.
Archaeological excavations show that the settlement, which covers an area of approximately 600 square kilometers, dates back to B.C. It shows that it was used from the 500s to between 300 and 600 AD. Researchers used lidar to assess half of the expanse built by members of the Kilamope and Upano cultures, two pre-Hispanic sedentary agricultural societies that once occupied the valley. According to the research, after a pause, some of the settlements were occupied by the Huapula civilization.
Lidar images showed that the area contained more than 6,000 rectangular earthen platforms, plaza structures and mounds, and that they were connected by a vast network of straight roads and paths. Rostain gave information about this structure: “The streets not only passed through the area, but also opened out of the area. “All of these roads worked together and were used to connect the community.”
According to the statement, researchers also discovered approximately 15 different settlements varying in size and structure. Stating that some of these settlements have mounds that are 150 meters long and 8 meters high, Rostain added how impressive this area is in terms of both the diversity and size of the structures.
The discovered site is similar in size and complexity to similar Mayan urban systems in Central America. “Such a discovery is another vivid example of the underestimation of the two-fold heritage of Amazonia, both environmental and cultural, and therefore indigenous,” the authors of the study wrote in their article. It is necessary to completely review our prejudices about the Amazon world. “In doing so, we believe that it is very important to reinterpret contexts and concepts in the light of an inclusive and participatory science.” He wrote:
Compiled by: Esin Özcan