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Title: The discovery of the Americas' long-lost 'Rome'
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URL Source: ... of-the-americas-long-lost-rome
Published: Jan 24, 2024
Author: Eliot Stein
Post Date: 2024-01-24 04:07:11 by Ada
Keywords: None
Views: 30

The unearthing of an immense network of cities deep in the Ecuadorean Amazon is proving that the world's biggest rainforest was once a thriving cosmopolitan hub.

"Let me ask you something," said archaeologist Stéphen Rostain. "What do you know about the history of the Amazon?"

I thought about it for a moment, and just as I opened my mouth to respond, Rostain let me in on a little secret: "You know nothing, because the history that we think we know is wrong. It's a history made by so- called chroniclers that rarely saw what they described. It's a history of lies. We know a little bit from colonial times, but it's a story of exploitation of land, torture and slavery. It's not a beautiful history. But this, the discovery of a vast urban cradle lets us better understand the first actors of this history: the Indigenous people. It forces us to rethink the entire human past of the Amazon."

The previous day, Rostain and his team had published the results of a study that was nearly 30 years in the making, and that sent shockwaves around the world.

Using airborne laser-scanning technology (Lidar), Rostain and his colleagues discovered a long-lost network of cities extending across 300sq km in the Ecuadorean Amazon, complete with plazas, ceremonial sites, drainage canals and roads that were built 2,500 years ago and had remained hidden for thousands of years. They also identified more than 6,000 rectangular earthen platforms believed to be homes and communal buildings in 15 urban centres surrounded by terraced agricultural fields.

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