Uncovering the Lost Cities of the Amazon

Stunning archaeological discoveries made in Brazil in recent years have upended conventional wisdom about the forests of the western Amazon.

According to Simon Romero, writing in the New York Times, the massive deforestation that has occurred in the Amazon, beginning in the 1970s, has exposed "flawlessly designed geometric shapes spanning hundreds of yards in diameter." The new findings could have an impact on our understanding of the ecological history of the Amazon and on the ongoing debate about razing parts of the forest to support agriculture or grazing.

"Instead of being pristine forests, barely inhabited by people, parts of the Amazon may have been home for centuries to large populations numbering well into the thousands and living in dozens of towns connected by road networks, explains the American writer Charles C. Mann."

According to Denise Schaan, an archaeologist at the Federal University of Pará in Brazil who now leads research on the geoglyphs, "the earthworks are 'one of the most important discoveries of our time.' But the repopulation of this part of the Amazon threatens the survival of the geoglyphs, after being hidden for centuries."

Full Story: Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World


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