The amazing Amazon Rainforest is an ecological factor which is critical to our Earth. The dense and unique forest stretches over 2 million square miles and is the home to thousands of incredible Fona and Flora. However, the forest has been holding other secrets that was recently discovered. Ruins of settlements lie hidden under the dense vegetation, but with the use of modern laser technology, researchers can reach the forest floor to search for evidence of past civilisation. A recent study in Nature has recently announced the discovery of 11 “new” historic settlements in Llanos de Mojos, a region of the Bolivian Amazon. These sites were sophisticated, with water systems and pyramid-like structures.
By using LIDAR, a laser technology which can sweep large areas and cut through vegetation to measure what lies beneath, researchers where able to discover the well hidden settlements after covering an area of 1,737 square miles. Within these bounds they documented 24 smaller sites, 11 of which were previously unknown.
They team has also scanned larger sites such as Cotoca and Landívar, which is found to have had platform mounds and cone-shaped pyramids measuring up to 72 feet tall. These settlements dates back to 500 to 1400 CE, and is believed to have been built by the Casarabe culture. These builders have crafted defensive moats, canals to carry water, and earthen buildings on a large scale. And what is also interesting, is that some of these buildings seem to be aligned with the stars. The author of the paper revealed, “The data contribute to the discussion of the global wealth of early urban diversity, and will help to redefine the categories used for past and present Amazonian societies.”
By preserving such history and findings, it can play an important part in the ongoing race to halt the deforestation of the Amazon.