City lost in Amazon

Archaeology>> Geoglyphs • Brazil/Bolivia

Published: Saturday 31 March 2012

Amazon has not always been so pristine. Archaeologists have uncovered a series of earthen avenues carved into the soil, which suggest parts of the rainforest may have been home to dozens of populated towns for centuries.

Alceu Ranzi, a Brazilian scholar who helped discover the geoglyphs, told The New York Times that the land patterns are in squares, octagons, circles and ovals and spread over hundreds of hectares. The civilisation could have existed 1,000 to 2,000 years ago. So far 320 such earthworks have been found in Brazil and 70 others in Bolivia.

First spotted in the 1970s, the intricate works became visible only recently following deforestation and advent of high-resolution satellite imagery.

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