Archaeologists Uncover 2,000-Year-Old Lost Cities in Amazon Forest
Archaeologists have unearthed a cluster of cities in the Amazon rainforest that accommodated a population of at least 10,000 farmers around 2,000 years ago. Stephen Rostain, the director of investigation at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), reported these findings in the scientific journal Science on Jan. 11.
Recent mapping by LiDAR, a light-based remote sensing technology, revealed the appearance and details of the settlements of Ecuador’s Upano Valley, hidden for thousands of years. The research team pointed out the most remarkable part of the findings was the highly sophisticated road network connecting houses and plazas. The roadways extended 10 to 20 km, with the largest being 10 m wide. Ceremonial and residential structures stood on over 6,000 earthen mounds, surrounded by agricultural fields featuring drainage canals.
Professor Rostain highlights in the report that these settlements were much larger than others previously discovered in the Amazon, comparable in scale to Maya sites. According to archaeologists’ estimates, the Upano people had built the cities approximately 2,500 years ago and inhabited the region for up to 1,000 years between about 500 B.C.E. and 300 to 600 C.E. Co-author and archaeologist Antoine Dorison suggests that the population may have ranged from 10,000 to 30,000, comparable to Roman-era London.
“We have a Eurocentric view of civilization, but this shows we have to change our idea about what is culture and civilization,” Rostain states. People often perceive the Amazon as a wilderness inhabited by nomadic groups or tiny settlements, an inhospitable place for complex civilizations. However, this discovery completely flips this understanding. It reveals that the ancient inhabitants had the capacity to establish an extremely complex society.
Amelia Moon Staff Reporter
1. What have archaeologists unearthed in the Amazon rainforest? Who reported the findings?
2. What did a recent mapping by LiDAR reveal? What was the most remarkable part of the findings?
3. What did Professor Rostain say about these settlements in the report? What about the archaeologists?
4. What is said about the Amazon in the last paragraph?
1. What can you see in the Amazon rainforest? Would you visit there?
2. How sophisticated are houses and roads now compared to the ancient times?
3. What do archaeologists do? What do they find? Give some examples.
4. Are there any places in the world that are not inhabited? Explain.