Lidar reveals undiscovered city under the Amazon rainforest – TechCrunch

It’s Friday, և the world is falling apart, so let’s take a break from some exciting mental health news outside of archeology, where technology allows for some exciting new discoveries. A new leader-based analysis The lands in the Amazon basin are evidence of a previously unknown urban center with a “mind-blowing” complexity.

Understandably, this does not mean ancient aliens or long-lost technology, it just goes far beyond the expected level of organization և population that scientists thought was possible for the Amazons 1,500 years ago.

“No one expected such a society in the region to have a… 20-meter-high pyramid,” said Heiko Prumers, of the German Archaeological Institute. In a video made by Nature. “The whole region was so densely populated in pre-Hispanic times that it is unbelievable. There is a new civilization, a new culture that is waiting for us to study them. ”

Until recently, it was speculated that the Amazon not only had smaller races, but also the arrival of Spanish-Portuguese spies, who are usually increasingly challenged by the Eurocentric view over new scholarships. In this case, the Prümers were interested in the so-called hills lomas, which is hidden under the vegetation, but hints at something bigger. The excavations showed that they were not landfills (as some thought), but areas for graves, rituals, etc., which show a complex, hierarchical society.

But it is not easy to find ground collisions under the cover of a rainforest, so in 2019 they set out to scan the area by helicopter, using the lead to restore the contour of the area under the trees. This technique has recently been shown to be very effective All Mayan cities և even a kilometers of artificial earthworks That’s how it was revealed.

Image credits. Prümers et al.

Lidar rays pass through the “branches” of the masters, jumping backwards to give a surprisingly detailed view of the ground below. And more than ever, this data can be quickly collected and analyzed to create a 3D point cloud that is easily verified for hidden structures.

What the team found was more than just news lomasplatforms, huge pyramids, defensive structures, reservoirs և canals և more that connect hundreds of settlements of different sizes. This contradicts the assumption that the local peoples were nomadic or foraging cultures, not sedentary agricultural cultures.

Lidar images of features found in the city of Cassarabe using

Lidar images of features found in the city of Cassarabe using

The culture of Cassarabe, as it was named after its discovery, remains largely a mystery. After all, its existence has only recently been confirmed, but this is a starting point for further investigation.

“We have to be patient, wait for further excavations in those areas to be able to explain something we are seeing now,” said Prumers. to his students. . “For me, who has worked in that region for the last 20, 25 years, it is a dream come true. To say yes at the end of my career, we have a new culture? It’s fun, I’m accepting it. “

As in many domains, technology allows (Prümers estimated that it may take 400 years of excavations to discover everything they found through the didin), but it can never replace the hard work and experience that humans have. bring to the equation. You can read the full paper (this is an open entry) at Nature.

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