Historic Discovery: Ancient Cities Discovered in Amazon Rainforest

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Researchers have discovered a network of ancient cities that may be up to 2,000 years old in the Amazon rainforest. The find was made in Ecuador at a site archaeologists have had their eye on for decades after noticing several earth mounds and buried roads that seemed to indicate human building activity.

Modern technology has confirmed what the human eye suspected. Using laser sensors trained on the site, researchers from France’s National Center for Scientific Research found a network of roads connecting settlements at the site in the foothills of the Andes mountains.

Thinking back to 20 years ago when he first noted the earthen structure the NCSR’s Stéphen Rostain said he suspected he’d found ancient human settlements, but “I wasn’t sure how it all fit together.”

The picture is becoming clearer. Rostain says the site is really a “lost valley of cities” inhabited by a civilization that lasted around 1,000 years. Up to 10,000 human farmers lived there, it is thought. And those people have a name—the Upano. The society existed in the network of cities from about 500 B.C to 300-600 A.D. That’s about the same time frame in which the Roman Empire thrived in Europe.

The scientists released their findings in a report in the journal Science that described roads that were up to 33 wide and that spanned anywhere from 6 to 12 miles. All told, there are at least 6,000 mounded earth structures in the complex, along with crop fields and canals for drainage.

All those structures took a lot of human hands to build, according to José Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter. While the Mayans and Incans built their cities of stone, he said, humans in the Amazon basis usually had to make do with mud for their construction material. “It’s still an immense amount of labor,” Iriarte said.

Estimating the population of the site is never exact, but a co-author on a recent study says there were probably 10,000 people living in the site with up to 15,000 or even 30,000 at the civilization’s height.

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