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Huge 3,000-Year-Old City Hidden in Amazon Rainforest Discovered by Archeologists


In the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, a groundbreaking discovery is rewriting the narrative of ancient civilizations. Through the lens of LiDAR technology, a remote sensing method using light to measure distances, archeologists have revealed the remnants of a sophisticated urban landscape hidden in the Upano valley. This extraordinary find challenges conventional views of the Amazon as a pristine wilderness and sheds light on the intricacies of a once-thriving civilization.

Spanning over 300 square kilometers, the ancient city boasts an elaborate network of interconnected houses, plazas, roads, and canals—all brought to light by LiDAR’s ability to penetrate the dense rainforest canopy. More than 6,000 raised earthen platforms hint at the existence of once-standing wooden structures, painting a picture of a bustling urban center that defies stereotypical portrayals of small, primitive Amazonian groups.

Dating back between 3,000 and 1,500 years, this city challenges preconceived notions of the region’s history. Professor Stephen Rostain, leading the investigation at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, emphasizes the transformative nature of this discovery. It not only challenges existing views but also highlights the intricate urban settings where ancient people thrived.


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Co-author Antoine Dorison underscores the city’s remarkable longevity, with inhabitants residing there for up to 1,000 years. This temporal depth adds a new dimension to our understanding of Amazonian history, revealing a chapter that extends far beyond the commonly perceived image of transient settlements. The LiDAR survey conducted in 2015 provides a detailed glimpse into the city’s layout, marking a pivotal moment in reshaping perceptions of pre-Columbian civilizations in the Amazon rainforest.

In essence, this discovery serves as a testament to the sophistication and endurance of ancient Amazonian societies, inviting a reevaluation of historical narratives that have often overlooked the complexity of civilizations within the lush greenery of the rainforest. The interconnectedness, advanced infrastructure, and enduring habitation of this unearthed city stand as a testament to the richness of human history in a region that has long been underestimated in its cultural and historical significance. As we continue to peel back the layers of time, this ancient city beckons us to explore the untold stories of the Amazon’s past and challenges us to reconsider what we thought we knew about the cradle of civilization.

About the Author: Aiman Dost

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