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Heiko Prümers, Carla Jaimes Betancourt, José Iriarte, Mark Robinson e Martin Schaich

Laser technology helps find lost cities in the Amazon – science

Story of the Amazon rainforest It will be rewritten. We imagined that before the arrival of the Europeans, it was inhabited by semi-nomadic tribes, dispersed into small groups, subsisting on hunting and farming on a small scale. We imagined that these inhabitants, being small and constantly on the move, practically did not affect the flora and fauna of the forest. The discovery of the ruins of large cities, now covered with dense forests, shows a completely different reality.

The first evidence that something was different was the discovery of plants cultivated by humans in certain areas of the forest. Then, researchers and farmers discovered small artificial mountains and passes in several areas, which are clear traces that humans built villages. But the scale and frequency of these constructions has been a mystery. In recent decades, a type of radar, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has been developed, which uses a laser and is capable of mapping the topography of the Earth’s surface under the forest. In Mexico, this equipment found new pyramids in the jungle.

Now a group of scientists has placed LIDAR in a helicopter and mapped the soil of the area where traces of human presence were found. And they were afraid. An area of ​​5,000 square kilometers has been determined in Janos de Mojos, in Bolivia, near the border with Brazil. In this area alone, 166 remains of small farming villages and two towns have been found. Cities are relatively large (100 hectares) and built on artificial mountains (a type of dam) and have pyramids up to 20-30 meters high. The paths, also built on bridges, connect the small villages with the big cities, which in turn have paths leaving the center towards the fringes in a radial fashion and rings encircling the cities. Channels to channel water, grain sediments, and other structures have been exposed. Scholars believe that these cities were built by the Casarabe, a civilization that has lived in this area since 500 BC.

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In Egypt, and in other regions, archaeological remains are easily recognizable in the landscape. In the densely forested areas, the jungle soon took over the ruins and became invisible under the jungle. This discovery shows that the Amazon still holds secrets.

more information: Dealing with Pre-Hispanic Low Debt Urban Detections in the Bolivian Amazon. temper nature

*He is a biologist