Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Categories: History | Science | World

A recent discovery by a team led by Stéphen Rostain is reshaping how researchers think about the pre-Columbian Amazon.

The scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research were able to use a type of laser-sensor technology called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to map several earthen mounds they had found in the Upano River Valley in Ecuador in 2015. 

This allowed them to create a 3D model of the structures that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye due to the jungle’s thick vegetation, not to mention its inaccessibility.

4 PHOTOS

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

1. A team of archaeologists has uncovered a lost ancient city in the Amazon rainforest using laser-sensor technology

Image credits: AP

The technology revealed something previously unthinkable: a massive civilization consisting of more than 6,000 raised earthen platforms covering an area of 115 square miles (300 square kilometers). 

Over 6 feet (2 meters) off the ground, each platform is over 2,000 square feet (200 square meters) and represents the foundation of a building. The scientists believe most were houses, but some were likely monuments or religious centers, given their large areas of up to 60,000 square feet (5,600 square meters).

More shockingly, the mounds are surrounded by a network of canals and roads. The longest road was at least 15 miles long (25 kilometers) and connected multiple settlements. The canals likely allowed for the cultivation of several crops, including corn, beans, manioc, and sweet potatoes, as suggested by pottery uncovered in the area.

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

2. The pre-Columbian civilization, which dates to before 500 A.D, is believed to have consisted of at least 10,000 inhabitants

Image credits: Stéphen Rostain

These findings, published in NewScientist, have challenged the historical and archaeological communities’ assumptions about pre-colonial South America. 

That’s because the mapped structures are extensive enough to have supported at least 10,000 inhabitants, with some suggesting as many as 100,000, which would have made it larger than London at the time. 

Plus, the civilization dates to before 500 A.D. This long predates the Aztec and Inca civilizations that the Spanish encountered in the 16th Century and is contemporaneous with the Maya. Scientists have previously focused on these three societies due to the wealth of stone ruins they left behind. Meanwhile, the Amazon was thought to have been void of complex civilization because it lacked the stone resources assumed to be required to build such elaborate cities.

However, the ruins of the Upano Valley prove that the people of the Amazon could have built cities and infrastructure using wood, opening up an entirely new channel of archaeological investigation. 

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

3. “This shows an unprecedented degree of complexity and density of settlement for this early time frame,” commented scientist Michael Heckenberger

Image credits: LIDAR A. DORISON ET S. ROSTAIN

“This shows an unprecedented degree of complexity and density of settlement for this early time frame,” commented Michael Heckenberger, a scientist at the University of Florida. “The authors justifiably conclude that the complexity and scale are comparable with better-known cases, such as the Maya, at this time.”

In fact, according to Charles Clement from the National Institute of Amazonian Research, “This is the largest complex with large settlements so far found in Amazonia.”

During the first stages of European exploration, there were numerous accounts of settlements and even large cities in the Amazon, but they were mostly dismissed as legends. Now, experts are wondering if they should be taking these stories more seriously and looking harder for ruins in the world’s largest rainforest. 

More findings like those by Rostain’s team shed light on the people and societies that existed in the Amazon before Europeans arrived and help us get closer to solving the bigger mystery—what happened to them?

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

Discovery Of Lost Ancient City Could Totally Change How We Think About History

4. “I imagine these places are everywhere under the jungle,” a reader theorized

Keywords: Discovery | Ancient City | History | Historical facts | Researchers | Amazon | Stéphen Rostain

Post News Article

Recent articles

Rhodesia - the African paradise of whites, which was left no chance
Rhodesia - the African paradise of whites, which was left no ...

You don't have to look for Rhodesia on a map of Africa - this once promising country no longer exists. In its place is Zimbabwe ...

The story of the "Half-Hung Maggie" who managed to survive the death penalty
The story of the "Half-Hung Maggie" who managed to survive ...

Nowadays, in countries where the death penalty is still practiced, they do not leave the condemned a single chance. If the criminal ...

Artist David Bowers and his beautiful, but cruel truth of life
Artist David Bowers and his beautiful, but cruel truth of life

American artist David Michael Bowers calls his style "realism with a sharp edge". In fact, his works could be attributed to ...

Related articles

Wild morals and debauchery: what "The Thousand and One Nights" really tells about»
Wild morals and debauchery: what "The Thousand and One ...

What do you know about the Arabian Nights? This is not a rhetorical question, because most people are content with a well-known ...

The Subtle East and the fashionable West: an American's photo tour of Iran in 1967
The Subtle East and the fashionable West: an American's photo ...

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was completely different from what it is today. Women dressed in Western fashion, freely ...

Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha

Geisha is an ancient and honorable profession in Japan. Geisha are not just girls for entertaining guests, they are traditions, ...