(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the University of Exeter, together with scientists from Brazilian universities, found that the ancient inhabitants of the Amazon built settlements in a round shape, reminiscent of a clock face.
Traces of these settlements have been found in the southern part of the Brazilian state of Acre. Modern remote sensing technology has allowed scientists to discern the ancient landscape of villages built between 1300 and 1700 AD.
The researchers used the RIEGL VUX-1 Lidar sensor integrated into the MD 500 helicopter to scan rainforests. The device helped document architectural features under the forest canopy, revealing a more complex and spatially organized landscape than previously thought.
The study documented over 35 villages and dozens of roads hidden under uncharted jungle. Villages typically numbered three to 32 hills in a circle. The diameter of these mounds ranged from 40 to 153 meters, and the area bounded by the central part of the settlement varied from 0.12 to 1.8 hectares.
“Lidar allowed us to discover these villages and their features, such as roads, which was not possible before, because most of them are impossible to see even with the best satellite data available. Technology helps to show the diverse and complex history of construction in this part of the Amazon. ”- Jose Iriarte, professor at the University of Exeter.
The distinctive and consistent arrangement of the circular villages suggests that the ancient Acreians who inhabited the area had very specific social patterns of society. They built their dwellings using the stars.
Research has shown that the Amazon rainforest has long been inhabited by indigenous communities whose cultures have experienced alternating periods of prosperity and collapse. It also proves that indigenous peoples had a significant impact on the local landscape long before the arrival of Europeans in these places.
Scientists have established that after the abandonment of large ceremonial earthen ramparts with geometric patterns, around 950 AD, a new culture emerged, when communities with well-defined concepts of social and architectural space arose in villages built on hills.
Villages with round embankments were connected across the wider landscape by paired roads that emanated from the circle of the village like the hands of a clock or the rays of the sun. In the villages themselves, there were both secondary and main roads.
In most of the settlements, pairs of main roads were found, oriented towards two parts of the world. Two of them left the village in a northern direction, and two in a southern direction. Analysis showed that these were straight roads, often connecting one village with another and thus forming a single multi-kilometer network of settlements.
Deforestation in the region has previously revealed the presence of large earthworks in the landscape, and archaeological research has also confirmed the presence of circular villages built from mounds. Until now, however, the scale of the earthen structures, their architectural schemes and regional organization remained hidden under the dense rainforest.
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