Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brazilian Geoglyphs Point to Urban Centers

Deforestation that has stripped the Amazon region since the 1970s continues to expose a long-hidden secret underneath the thick growth of the rain forest – flawlessly designed geometric earthwork shapes hundreds of yards in diameter.
Alceu Ranzi, a Brazilian scholar who discovered a number of squares, octagons, circles, rectangles and ovals that make up the land carvings, said these geoglyphs found on deforested land were as significant as the famous Nazca lines in Peru.
According to the New York Times:
“What impressed me the most about these geoglyphs was their geometric precision, and how they emerged from forest we had all been taught was untouched except by a few nomadic tribes,” said Mr. Ranzi, a paleontologist who first saw the geoglyphs in the 1970s and, years later, surveyed them by plane. 
For some scholars of human history in Amazonia, the geoglyphs in the Brazilian state of Acre and other archaeological sites suggest that the forests of the western Amazon, previously considered uninhabitable for sophisticated societies partly because of the quality of their soils, may not have been as “Edenic” as some environmentalists contend.
Instead of being pristine forests, barely inhabited by people, parts of the Amazon may have been home for centuries to large populations numbering well into the thousands and living in dozens of towns connected by road networks, explains the American writer Charles C. Mann.
Photo shows exposed Brazilian geoglyphs.

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