The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Ancient cities discovered in the Amazon rainforest

How history could be rewritten

The Amazon rainforest holds great importance to the ecosystem it supports. It provides ample oxygen, sustainable resources, and habitats for animals that are vital to the ecosystem. This humongous forest also helps prevent and slow climate change by storing tons of carbon each year, slowing the heating of the Earth.

This amazing forest also holds the rich history of nomads and indigenous people who would hunt and gather the land for resources. The way they used sustainable techniques to harvest native vegetation and hunt proficiently shows how civilizations can begin with the foundations of shelter, food, and water for survivability.  

There is a lot of history left hidden within this harsh habitat and scientists have previously thought it to be inhabitable in early historical times. Indigenous groups like the Yanomamo and Kayapo have traversed the rainforest with a nomadic lifestyle, using natural resources to thrive without the help of outside technology. Overall, their way of living holds rich cultural meaning and amazing stories of survival. 

Beneath the rich vegetation and exotic species found within this unique habitat, the terrain could be hiding something scientists have never thought possible before. With the forest’s rough terrain and hard to navigate environment, it is tough to research the possible history of who could have inhabited this area in the past. 

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Archaeologists thought the Amazon rainforest was inhospitable to large societies, but unearthed handiwork from Bolivia and Brazil has  provided possible evidence pointing towards the Amazon rainforest hosting a complex society before European colonizers arrived to chart South America.

Geographical evidence has shown that there are dozens of city networks beneath the forest in Ecuador’s Upano Valley. This was discovered by LiDAR, a laser mapping technique used to see through the dense foliage and fit pieces of terrain together like a puzzle.

This civilization could be approximately 2,500 years old, which thereby indicates that this society could be more than 1,000 years older than any other known complex Amazonian society. 

Stephen Rostain, an archaeologist at CNRS (France’s national research agency), has been excavating the Upano Valley for nearly 30 years. His team has previously found two large settlements – which they have dubbed “Sangay” and “Kilamope” – with central plazas, pottery, and jugs with the remains of traditional maize beer.

These known settlements were unknowingly a part of a complex society hidden within the deep greenery of the forest. These archaeologists found five large settlements with ten smaller ones spanning over 300 square kilometers. Scientists theorize this community relied heavily on agricultural fields with hillside terraces for cropping. Long, wide roads connected these settlements with one another, and even have minor streets between houses and neighborhoods.

This is a huge discovery: showing that ancient cities have formed towns, and even created early signs of urbanization development. It is unknown how many people could have lived in these settlements, but researchers suspect that there could be even more evidence of ancient cities scattered throughout the Amazon rainforestthat were created around the same time frame.

As archaeologists continue their study on possible civilizations within the Amazon forest, they could be unearthing crucial evidence on how historical cities functioned and their history. Overall, history continues to evolve with new discoveries of ancient societies and the awe inspiring culture they have left behind.

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