Skip to comments.Research Team Finds New Evidence Of Amazonian Civilization
Posted on 09/16/2005 7:32:10 PM PDT by blam
Research team finds new evidence of Amazonian civilization
A joint Japanese-Bolivian research team has completed the first stage of a three-year investigation that aims to shed light on a little-known high culture that existed in the present-day Bolivian Amazon.
The investigation, named "Project Mojos," is headed by Katsuyoshi Sanematsu, a professor of anthropology at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.
In an interview Wednesday, Sanematsu, 56, told Kyodo News that the team, composed of four Japanese researchers and four Bolivian researchers, succeeded in finding hundreds of archaeological artifacts during a month long excavation that ended earlier this month.
"It is very unusual for such a large number of artifacts to be found at a single site in the region, especially in an excavation of such a short time," he said.
The so-called ancient Mojos culture is presumed to have existed in the Bolivian Amazon for thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores.
In the Llanos de Mojos, a large, seasonally flooded plain in the northeastern part of Bolivia, there remains abundant evidence of this ancient culture. Most prominent are 20,000 man-made hills or mounds, 5,000 kilometers of straight roads, a large network of canals, and 2,000 artificial lakes.
When considering the enormous scale of such earthworks, the ancient Mojos culture could rightly be called a civilization newly found that existed in the land of ancient Amazonia, he said.
According to Sanematsu, the existence of the culture has been known since Swedish ethnologist Erland Nordenskiold first made some excavations in the region in the early 20th century. However, it has been little studied up until recently, being overshadowed by the glamour of the neighboring Andean civilization.
The excavation was carried out at an artificial hill (loma) called Loma Pancho Roman located about 35 km east of the city of Trinidad, capital of Beni department.
It is a medium-sized loma with a height of about 9 meters and total area of about 5 hectares.
During the monthlong excavation the team unearthed 12 human skeletons, 12 large funeral urns and one small funeral urn containing human remains.
Also found were burial artifacts such as beads and stone ornaments, many shells, and numerous pottery and pottery artifacts. Earthenware urns are one of the identifying traits of the ancient Mojos culture.
The refined burial artifacts found inside the urns indicate the high level of culture and technology which the ancient residents possessed, according to the Japanese researcher.
Sanematsu said in the future he aims to investigate other lomas in the region more thoroughly and with better equipment, as well as other massive earthworks such as the straight roads, ship canals and artificial lakes.
The lomas, testaments to the civil engineering prowess of the period, served as islands during flooding and were connected by a network of straight roads and canals, some of which are also visible from satellites.
Sanematsu said a fascinating characteristic of the ancient Mojos culture is the sheer scale by which the ancient people attempted to alter their natural environment.
"It is clear that they did it to improve their living conditions, to establish a complex society in the flood plain of the Amazon. But the important thing is that they succeeded in accomplishing their goals without destroying nature," he said.
"I'd like to know how it was done, the technology and the wisdom which made this feat possible," he added.
Sanematsu, author of numerous books on ancient Central and South American cultures, returned to Japan last week with the Japanese members of the team and a Japanese television crew that filmed the entire excavation.
He plans to return to the Bolivian Amazon next year to conduct further research with the Project Mojos team, which is supported by the National Direction of Archaeology and the Bolivian government, as well as by the local Japanese embassy.
The article has the who, the what, the where but not even a mention of the when. Got any dates, blam?
Oops. From the title, I thought they found fossilized tampons.
Don't know. Maybe this?
Don't know. Maybe this?
thanks for the link. I remembered that special Amazon soil when I saw this article - I wonder if the scientists have figured out any more in the last few years.
On the upside, the President has promised that the American taxpayers will pay to rebuild, so that the Amazonian evacuees can return home.
This seems like a good place to relocate the refugee folks
they are experienced in flooding, its warm and you dont need to evacuate just climb up into the mountains.
How would anyone destroy nature in the Amazon in a way that we could detect 1500 years later.
Well, I am glad they found their lost MOJOs. I guess that the next thing they will be doing is "shagging."
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Their leader is believed to be a Mr. Mojos Risin'.
A 'rider on the storm' no doubt.
Good links. Thanks.
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