Ancient 'lost' civizilation found deep in the Amazon using lasers

Researchers flying over the Amazon jungle in a helicopter have found the remains of ancient Casarabe settlements with LIDAR.

Published Thu, May 26 2022 4:32 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jun 16 2022 4:31 AM CDT

A study on the civilization titled "Lidar reveals pre-Hispanic low-density urbanism in the Bolivian Amazon" has been published in the journal Nature.

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Researchers have used airborne light detection and ranging (LIDAR) from a helicopter while flying over the Amazon basin to reveal evidence of previously unknown settlements. These ruins were built by a lost pre-Hispanic civilization and confirm that the region was capable of sustaining large populations of people.

Thousands of infrared LIDAR pulses per second revealed two large settlements (147 hectares and 315 hectares) and more connected by a network of roads and causeways. The settlements also had a "massive water-management infrastructure" that utilized canals and reservoirs. The new findings show the Casarabe culture from the Llanos de Mojos region of the Amazon basin extended much further than was previously known.

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"In one hour of walking, you can get to another settlement. That's a sign that this region was very densely populated in pre-Hispanic times," study lead author Heiko Prumers, an archaeologist at the German Archaeological Institute in Bonn, told Live Science.

You can read more from the study here.

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