Lasers help scientists find ‘Lost’ Amazonian settlements beneath dense jungle
(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered traces of ancient ruins of previously unknown settlements, adorned with huge pyramids and canals, in the southwest Amazon jungle.
Researchers discover ancient ruins using LiDAR technology
According to a study published in the journal Nature , scientists scanned six areas within 4,500 square kilometers of the Llanos de Mojos region in the Bolivian Amazon using helicopter-mounted lasers.
In total, they discovered two new large settlements called Kotoka and Landvar and 24 smaller settlements, 15 of which were previously unknown.
These settlements are not just a collection of a few simple huts. Some of these were major centers with their own ceremonial architecture and complex water management infrastructure consisting of canals and reservoirs. The team also found traces of cone-shaped pyramids up to 22 meters high.
Settlements date from about 500 AD to 1400 AD, when the Casarabe civilization lived in this part of the Amazon.
All this became possible thanks to LIDAR technology.
Many of these discoveries were made possible by LIDAR. The technology was developed in the early 1970s for space exploration, but archaeologists have adopted it for scanning landscapes.
In addition to being able to instantly scan vast areas, lasers can also “see” through dense vegetation and reveal hints of ancient ruins and man-made structures.
Researchers will continue scanning in the hope of discovering new settlements.
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