Massive ancient metropolis discovered in the Amazon

A vast ancient metropolis concealed by dense vegetation for millennia has been discovered in the Amazon.

The discovery reshapes understanding of Amazonian inhabitants’ historical trajectory.

An extensive network of canals and roads linked residences and plazas in the Upano region of eastern Ecuador.

Rich local soils were produced by a volcano in the region, possibly responsible for the society’s demise.

While knowledge existed about urban centers like Machu Picchu in Peru, the belief was that Amazon inhabitants lived nomadic or in small settlements.

“This Amazon site is older than any other we are aware of.” “Our perspective on civilization is Eurocentric, but this shows we need to reevaluate notions of culture and civilization,” says study leader Professor Stephen Rostain, director of investigation at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

“It alters our perception of Amazonian cultures.” “Most people envision small, likely naked groups clearing land and living in huts; this shows that ancient people inhabited complex urban societies,” explains co-author Antoine Dorison.

Archaeologists estimate that inhabitants occupied the city for 1,000 years after its construction around 2,500 years ago.

Scientists estimate the population was tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, though exact figures are difficult to ascertain.

Integrating ground excavations with an aerial survey using laser sensors, archaeologists discerned remnants of the city amid dense vegetation.

LiDAR technology detected 6,000 rectangular platforms, measuring approximately 20m by 10m and 2-3m in height.

Advanced Infrastructure in Ancient Amazon

Clusters of platforms, serving as residences or ceremonial spaces, organized around a plaza.

Linear pathways and roads linked platforms, one spanning 25 kilometers.

These roads, according to Dr. Dorison, were the investigation’s most remarkable aspect.

“The transportation system is exceptionally advanced. It transcends a tremendous distance; all elements are interconnected. “Moreover, there are right angles, which is quite remarkable,” he says.

He believes some had “powerful significance,” possibly associated with ritual or religious conviction.

Researchers also detected causeways with flanking ditches, hypothesized to function as conduits for water management.

Evident threats to the cities included channels obstructing access, potentially indicating nearby threats.

First discovered in the 1970s, this comprehensive survey reveals a society more expansive and intricate than the renowned Mayan civilizations.

José Iriarte, an archaeology professor at the University of Exeter, notes the “unique” discoveries, characterizing an additional Mayan civilization with distinct land use, ceramics, and architecture.

Extensive submerged pathways connected well-organized and interconnected societies.

Discoveries in the platforms included pits, hearths, jars, stones for grinding plants, and charred seeds.

The Kilamope and Upano inhabitants likely centered their lives on agriculture, consuming sweet potatoes, maize, and “chicha,” a sweet brew.

Prof. Rostain faced skepticism at the outset of his career, but this discovery challenges the notion that no ancient civilizations inhabited the Amazon.

The researchers’ next objective is to survey a 300-square-kilometer area adjacent to the current site.

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