2022-05-27

Scientists found ancient buildings in Amazon: confirmation that it was once a densely populated area

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Scientists found ancient buildings in Amazon: confirmation that it was once a densely populated area

Lidar reveals the low-density urban life of pre Hispanics in the Amazon region of Bolivia. Drawings provided by the author

Scientists found ancient buildings in Amazon: confirmation that it was once a densely populated area(1)

Lidar reveals the low-density urban life of pre Hispanics in the Amazon region of Bolivia. Drawings provided by the author

Due to the dense vegetation, it is difficult to map the tropical forest. People only know about casarabe culture from some evidence from a single site, and little about the public or ritual buildings of its important sites and the regional organization of casarabe residence.

Heiko prumers, the first and corresponding author of the paper and the German Institute of archaeology, and his colleagues investigated six areas of 4500 square kilometers of Llanos de Mojos in the Amazon region of Bolivia, which belongs to the casarabe culture.

Using a technology called optical radar (optical detection and ranging), the author can virtually “erase” the dense vegetation and visualize the land and archaeological relics under the forest canopy. They found two settlements, named cotoca and landivar, and 24 smaller sites, of which only 15 were previously known.

Based on the size of the rammed earth platform, the building structure on it and the water storage system of the river channel, the author has generated a four level classification of the site. These structures include U-shaped structures, rectangular platform piles and conical pyramids up to 22 meters high.

These findings challenge the existing understanding of the pre Spanish history of the Amazon region and enhance people’s understanding of the ancient tropical civilization of the Amazon.

A reviewer of the paper said: “this study shows that the southwest of the Amazon is not a sparsely populated and isolated area, but a part of a densely populated and hierarchical world of the great Amazon.”