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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 03:58 PM
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Ancient Amazon civilisation laid bare by felled forest
Ancient Amazon civilisation laid bare by felled forest
10 December 2009 by Linda Geddes

Signs of what could be a previously unknown ancient civilisation are emerging from beneath the felled trees of the Amazon. Some 260 giant avenues, ditches and enclosures have been spotted from the air in a region straddling Brazil's border with Bolivia.

The traditional view is that before the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th century there were no complex societies in the Amazon basin in contrast to the Andes further west where the Incas built their cities. Now deforestation, increased air travel and satellite imagery are telling a different story.

"It's never-ending," says Denise Schaan of the Federal University of Par in Belm, Brazil, who made many of the new discoveries from planes or by examining Google Earth images. "Every week we find new structures." Some of them are square or rectangular, while others form concentric circles or complex geometric figures such as hexagons and octagons connected by avenues or roads. The researchers describe them all as geoglyphs.

Garden villages
Their discovery, in an area of northern Bolivia and western Brazil, follows other recent reports of vast sprawls of interconnected villages known as "garden cities" in north central Brazil, dating from around AD 1400. But the structures unearthed at the garden city sites are not as consistently similar or geometric as the geoglyphs, Schaan says.

"I firmly believe that the garden cities of Xingu and the geoglyphs were not directly related," says Martti Prssinen of the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes in Madrid, Spain, who works with Schaan. "Nevertheless, both discoveries demonstrate that (upland) areas of western Amazonia were heavily populated much before the European incursion."

More:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427383.800-anci...
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