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Revealing the Lost Cities of the Amazon: Unearthing the Complex Societies of the Past

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Revealing the Lost Cities of the Amazon: Unearthing the Complex Societies of the Past

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The Amazon rainforest, long perceived as an untouched wilderness, is now emerging as an epicenter of complex ancient societies, as per the recent findings by archeologists. Using advanced laser-sensor technology, they have uncovered a cluster of lost cities nestled in the Amazonian wilds, home to at least 10,000 farmers around 2,000 years ago. The settlements were occupied by the Upano people between around 500 B.C. and 300 to 600 A.D. The discovery challenges the existing perceptions of the Amazon, painting a picture of a vibrant, complex society.

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Ancient Cities Discovered in the Amazon

The cities, hidden by lush vegetation for thousands of years, were recently unveiled, reshaping our understanding of the Amazon's history. The city was built around 2,500 years ago and was occupied for nearly a millennium. At its peak, the population in these settlements was comparable to that of Roman-era London, ranging between 10,000 to potentially 100,000 inhabitants.

Interconnected Urban Societies with Unique Architecture

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These ancient Amazonian societies were not just large but well-organized and interconnected. The settlements were linked by a sophisticated network of roads and canals, indicating a high degree of urban planning. Unique architecture and land use were evident, reflecting the complexity of these societies.

Largest Pre-Colonial Cities in Amazon

Lidar scans have revealed these cities to be the largest pre-colonial settlements in the Amazon yet discovered. These cities, between 3000 and 1500 years old, are older than other pre-Columbian ones discovered in the Amazon. The settlements are much bigger than others in the Amazon and are comparable with Maya sites.

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The Extensive Network of Roads

The network of roads connecting the Upano sites suggests they all existed at the same time, making them more than 1000 years older than other complex Amazonian societies. The largest roads were 33 feet (10 meters) wide and stretched for 6 to 12 miles (10 to 20 kilometers). This further underlines the extent of organized labor required to build these roads and thousands of earthen mounds.

Unveiling the Complexity of Ancient Amazonian Cultures

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The discovery underscores the long-unrecognized diversity of ancient Amazonian cultures. The extent of Upano’s landscape modification rivals the 'garden cities' of the Classic Maya. Lidar technology has revolutionized our understanding of the Amazon in pre-Columbian times, allowing researchers to see through forest cover and reconstruct the ancient sites below.

Why Did the Upano Abandon Their Cities?

Despite their grandeur and complexity, the settlements in the Upano valley were abandoned after 1500 years. Researchers speculate this could have been due to volcanic eruptions. Nevertheless, the remnants of these ancient Amazonian civilizations continue to intrigue scientists, challenging long-standing notions and unlocking new insights into the region’s past.

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