An ancient city in the Amazon

Archeology has a way of upending our just so stories about human history. Case in point, the discovery of a massive, ancient city in the Amazon:

This is older than any other site we know in the Amazon. We have a Eurocentric view of civilisation, but this shows we have to change our idea about what is culture and civilisation,” says Prof Stephen Rostain, director of investigation at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, who led the research.

It changes the way we see Amazonian cultures. Most people picture small groups, probably naked, living in huts and clearing land - this shows ancient people lived in complicated urban societies,” says co-author Antoine Dorison.

The city was built around 2,500 years ago, and people lived there for up to 1,000 years, according to archaeologists.

It is difficult to accurately estimate how many people lived there at any one time, but scientists say it is certainly in the 10,000s if not 100,000s.

My guess is that by the time all is said and done, our view of the ancient world is going to radically change. There were hints of these changes in David Graeber’s The Dawn of Everything, but that’s only the beginning.

It’s sad to think how much has been forever lost because so much of human history was centered around tropical climates that preserve few artifacts. And it’s also interesting to think that our various mythologies may be some of the oldest things we have. Perhaps it’s worth taking them more seriously.

A final thought from the article:

Prof Rostain says he was warned against this research at the start of his career because scientists believed no ancient groups had lived in the Amazon.