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Lidar reveals pre-Hispanic low-density urbanism in the Bolivian Amazon


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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

More than 20 years ago, Dr. Heiko Prümers from the German Archaeological Institute and Prof. Dr. Carla Jaimes Betancourt from the University of Bonn, at that time a student in La Paz, began archaeological excavations on two "mounds" near the village of Casarabe in Bolivia. The Mojos Plains is a southwestern fringe of the Amazon region. Even though the savannah plain, which flooded several months a year during rainy season, does not encourage permanent settlement, there are still many visible traces of the time before Spanish colonization at the beginning of the 16th century. Next to the "mounds," these traces include mainly causeways and canals that often lead for kilometers in a dead straight line across the savannahs.

"This indicated a relatively dense settlement in pre-Hispanic times. Our goal was to conduct basic research and trace the settlements and life there," says Heiko Prümers. In earlier studies, the researchers already found that the Casarabe culture—named after the nearby village—dates to the period between 500 and 1400 AD and, according to current knowledge, extended over a region of around 16,000 square kilometers. The "mounds" turned out to be eroded pyramid stumps and platform buildings.

https://phys.org/news/2022-05-early-urbanism-amazon.html

Lidar reveals pre-Hispanic low-density urbanism in the Bolivian Amazon

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04780-4

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  • 1 month later...
 

This article and similar ones show us, that what we have all considered to be a 'pristine jungle', the Amazon rainforest, was in fact very populated.

The same is true for Middle-America.

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Farming the jungle is a  different kind of farming that we, who are familiar with grain farming on plains, took a long time to recognize.  Fruit and nut producing trees, trees that provide useful materials and trees and clearings  that attract game are all part of that structure. The shape and structure of forests and jungles today  often retain a pattern established by settlers hundreds of years prior.  Probably @Piney knows quite a bit about this.   

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10 minutes ago, Tatetopa said:

Probably @Piney knows quite a bit about this.   

Well, I throw in my two bits.

I read some 45 years ago, in Nature Magazin, that the Amazon rainforest was a patchwork of kind of forested islands divided by savanna. And that was around 10,000 years ago.

I now think it was humans who created that environment ("terra preta") even back then.

There probably never was a 'pristine Amazonian rainforest'.

It was the result of humans working as gardeners.

After the people who had created that 'garden' died out (or were killed off), the jungle took over the now more furtile soil.

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3 hours ago, Abramelin said:

Well, I throw in my two bits.

I read some 45 years ago, in Nature Magazin, that the Amazon rainforest was a patchwork of kind of forested islands divided by savanna. And that was around 10,000 years ago.

I now think it was humans who created that environment ("terra preta") even back then.

There probably never was a 'pristine Amazonian rainforest'.

It was the result of humans working as gardeners.

After the people who had created that 'garden' died out (or were killed off), the jungle took over the now more furtile soil.

Because the top soil is so shallow you have to build flat mounds and they used pottery in terra preta.

We're good Rob, but we were still working on the basics then. But your right. The Amazon was never pristine.

@Tatetopa

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