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Mysteries from the jungle

This fascinates me. From the New Yorker:

The gradual devastation of the Amazon—the felling of thousands of square miles of forest, the clear-cutting of the jungle—has produced, paradoxically, one of the greatest archeological discoveries: a vast and complex ancient civilization. In cleared-away areas of the upper Amazon basin, researchers, using satellite imagery, have recently pinpointed a vast network of monumental earthworks, including geometrically aligned roads and structures, constructed by a hitherto unknown civilization. According to a new report published in the journal Antiquity, the archeologist Martii Pärssinen and other scientists have documented more than two hundred and ten geometric structures, some of which may date as far back as the third century A.D. They are spread out over an area that spans more than two hundred and fifty kilometers, reaching all the way from northern Bolivia to the state of Amazonia in Brazil.

Probably not the best way to make such amazing discoveries. Anyway, it reminds me of the Guayabos site in Costa Rica. In general, Costa Rica doesn’t have much – no monuments, few artifacts, no large indigenous population – to suggest that any ancient civilization beyond the hunter-gatherer variety ever lived here.

But there it is, out in the middle of the jungle, a stone road 10 feet thick and wide enough for two cars, along with a system of aqueducts and a few houses. Clearly (and delightfully), there is still much we don’t know about our world.

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