March 27, 2018

Dozens of ancient villages discovered in ‘uninhabited’ Amazon rain forest

Tuesday, archaeologists announced the discovery of 81 previously unknown, lost villages in a small portion of the Amazon region, which in total cover more than 2.1 million square miles of tropical terrain in eight countries, including Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

In addition to the villages, roads and farms were also discovered. The study said there is evidence for hundreds more villages that have yet to be uncovered in the Amazon.

Scientists say that portion of the southern Amazon rain forest was once home to 500,000 to 1 million people before the Europeans arrived in the late 1400s and early 1500s.

This means far more people likely lived in the Amazon than had been previously thought. The study authors write that this new research “definitively discredits early low estimates of 1.5-2 million inhabitants for the whole basin.”

The discovery fills a major gap in the history of the Amazon and provides further evidence that the rain forest — once thought to be untouched by human farming or occupation — has in fact been heavily influenced by those who lived in it.

Using satellite images and in-person surveys, scientists found the remains of villages and mysterious earthworks known as geoglyphs — man-made ditches with strange square, circular or hexagonal shapes, the purpose of which remains unknown.

After being hidden for centuries, these strange shapes have been made visible because of deforestation over the past few years.

The study was published Tuesday in Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed British journal.

USA TODAY has the story here;

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