Skip to comments.In Amazon, traces of an advanced civilization
Posted on 09/06/2010 8:42:43 AM PDT by Palter
To the untrained eye, all evidence here in the heart of the Amazon signals virgin forest, untouched by man for time immemorial - from the ubiquitous fruit palms to the cry of howler monkeys, from the air thick with mosquitoes to the unruly tangle of jungle vines.
Archaeologists, many of them Americans, say the opposite is true: This patch of forest, and many others across the Amazon, was instead home to an advanced, even spectacular civilization that managed the forest and enriched infertile soil to feed thousands.
The findings are discrediting a once-bedrock theory of archaeology that long held that the Amazon, unlike much of the Americas, was a historical black hole, its environment too hostile and its earth too poor to have ever sustained big, sedentary societies. Only small and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes, the assumption went, could ever have eked out a living in an unforgiving environment.
But scientists now think that instead of stone-age tribes, like the groups that occasionally emerge from the forest today, the Indians who inhabited the Amazon centuries ago numbered as many as 20 million, far more people than live here today.
"There is a gigantic footprint in the forest," said Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo, 49, a Colombian-born professor at the University of Florida who is working this swath in northeast Peru.
Stooping over a man-made Indian mound on a recent day, he picked up shards of ceramics and dark, nutrient-rich earth made fertile hundreds of years ago by human hands. "All you can see is an artifact of the past," he said. "It's a product of human actions," he said.
The evidence is not just here outside tiny San Martin de Samiria, an indigenous hamlet hours by speed boat from the jungle city of Iquitos. It is found across Amazonia.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Ms. Roosevelt, Amazon, etc.
Might need to use bug me not.
“...a historical black hole.”
Hmmm...speaking of President Obama, does he know about this?
Uh, how can he tell it was made fertile hundreds of years ago? Do the years since then have nothing to do with its fertility?
More beauty destroyed by evil whitie.... Yakub did all this....
He could be referring to the massive use of fires to change the landscape and irrigation and canal systems established by some of the Indians for agricultural improvement.
Better hide those before the Taliban deface them.
Top environmental experts theorize that these small but advanced civilizations were suddenly rendered extinct after Spanish conquistadors introduced large SUV’s, which rapidly led to devastating climate change. “You’d have to believe the earth is flat, to believe otherwise,” remarked environmental Nobel award winner, Al Gore.
If only Lope de Aguirre had gotten there a little sooner...he could have found a flourishing civilization. Of course he probably would have massacred everyone.
Yakub did all this....Nah. Bush's fault.
Interestingly, the many recent attempts to recreate terra preta have not been successful. Most soils are made fertile with the addition of human waste (cf China). However, terra preta contains many other ingredients which, unlike other man made or naturally occurring soils, does not lose its fertility with years of use, nor does its depth deplete.
If someone finds a way to duplicate terra preta, they will pretty much become instant billionaires, as any soil anywhere could be made to grow anything indefinitely.
And add a perpetual motion machine and we will all live forever!
Reading the diary of Francisco de Orellana, the first European explorer to travel down the Amazon from Peru to the Atlantic, he wrote of numerous large villages and highly organized societies. All of them tried to kill him and his men. He was attacked by a tribe of very tall, powerful female archers which is how the river got its name.
IIRC, he started with about 500 men plus horses, war dogs, and many porters. IIRC, he made it to Trinidad with about 20 survivors.
After they were welcomed in one Indian community in September 2008, the leaders offered to radio ahead to the next village for permission for Stafford and Rivera to walk through their territory.
"The response came back crystal clear. If a gringo walks into their community they will kill him," Stafford wrote on his blog at that time.
He decided to plan a route around the village, but he was still captured by Indians from another village and taken to their leaders.
After being dressed down and having their possessions thoroughly picked over only a machete was confiscated Stafford and Rivera's repeated explanations of the point of their expedition won over the Indians.'