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Research  1000s of ancient structures still hidden deep in Amazon (rain forest architecture)

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INTRO: Scientists have estimated that anywhere from 10,000 and 24,000 archaeological sites made by pre-Columbian Indigenous peoples lie hidden beneath the forest canopies of the Amazon Basin, according to a new study.

In other words, ancient earthworks that are already known in the Amazon represent only a small fraction of the predicted total, hinting that 91 to 96 percent of Pre-Columbian Amazonian sites remain undiscovered. The results shed new light on the complex and fascinating past of the Amazon’s Indigenous peoples, and bolster the case for Indigenous territorial rights in the region today.

Indigenous peoples have inhabited Amazonia, a vast rainforest biome that extends across 2.6 million square miles, for more than 12,000 years. Over the millennia, these societies constructed expansive earthworks such as roads, settlements, and ceremonial architecture; they also substantially modified local ecosystems with forest management practices, including the domestication of plants that are useful to humans.

Now, scientists led by Vinicius Peripato, a researcher at Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, report the discovery of 24 previously unknown earthworks—including fortified villages, plaza towns, and ceremonial rings of megaliths—that were detected across Amazonia with a remote-sensing technique called LiDAR.

Peripato and his colleagues used this sample of newly discovered earthworks, which cover only 0.08 percent of Amazonia, to run sophisticated models of the distribution and abundance of large-scale archaeological sites across this massive basin. The team’s approach revealed that “between 10,272 and 23,648 sites remain to be discovered and that most will be found in the southwest” Amazon, a discovery that “opens opportunities for better understanding the magnitude of ancient human influence on Amazonia and its current state,” according to a new study published in Science... (MORE - details)

Lost beneath the leaves: Lasers reveal an ancient Amazonian civilisation ...

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