Through laser technology, they discovered interconnected settlements of previously unknown Amazonian cultures

An innovative study by laser mapping has revealed cities, corridors and farms hidden beneath the Amazon rainforest dating back 2,500 years and could change archeology's perception of ancient Latin American civilizations. Discoveries 1000 years older than previously foundAccording to a publication in the journal Science.

The survey was carried out using lidar laser technology Upano ValleyIn the jungles of Ecuador, they were discovered Interconnected settlements of ancient unrecognized Amazonian culturesSo archaeologists have begun to reconstruct their lifestyles.

Ecuador's National Institute of Cultural Heritage funded a lidar survey of the valley in 2015, using a specially equipped aircraft to beam laser pulses into the forest to measure their path, revealing unseen topographical features beneath the trees.

“Every day is Christmas, a new gift,” archaeologist Stephane Rostain of France's National Research Institute said in a scientific publication about discoveries in the area he began working on nearly 30 years ago.

Rosstein and his team identified five large and ten small settlements in the Upano Valley covering an area of ​​300 square kilometers, each densely populated with residential and ceremonial structures.

The cities are interspersed with rectangular agricultural fields and surrounded by hillside terraces, where people cultivated crops including corn, cassava, and sweet potatoes found in past excavations. They also found wide, straight roads connecting the towns, and streets running between houses and neighborhoods in each settlement.

“We're talking about urban planning.”Archaeologist Fernando Mejia of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador highlighted

Although researchers still don't know how many people lived in the Upano Valley, the settlements were large, and they're confident that what's to be found in the Ecuadorian Amazon is “only the tip of the iceberg,” Mejia said. , and clarified that the network of roads connecting the Upano sites suggests that they all existed at the same time.

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The discovery is a thousand years older than other complex Amazonian societies, including the recently discovered ancient urban structure of Llanos de Mojos in Bolivia.

“We say 'Amazonia', but we should say 'Amazonia'”assured Rosstein of the cultural diversity of the region.

“We are beginning to understand how these cities functioned,” James Betancourt, who studies the Llanos de Mojos, said in the release.

“It's amazing that we can still make discoveries like this on our planet and discover complex new cultures in the 21st century,” said Thomas Garrison, an archaeologist and geologist at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in lidar work.

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