Evidence of a vast ancient city is discovered deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Archaeologist Stéphen Rostain has unveiled evidence of a sophisticated city in the Ecuadorian Amazon, challenging previous assumptions about the region’s history. The city, inhabited from 500 B.C.E. to between 300 and 600 C.E., housed possibly up to 30,000 people before being abandoned for unknown reasons. Discovered in the Upano Valley, the complex was buried beneath vegetation until a local priest found it in the 1970s. Rostain’s team, detailed in a recent Science paper, used lidar technology to reveal the sprawling urban area covering approximately 115,000 square miles. The city boasted plazas, roads, canals, and ceremonial sites, resembling ancient Rome in size and duration of habitation. Notably, it featured over 6,000 earthen platforms arranged in a geometric pattern, alongside wide roads stretching over 15 miles and some 30 feet across. The discovery supports Francisco de Orellana’s 16th-century accounts of populous Amazon cities, previously dismissed as fiction. Unlike Maya or Inca structures, this city’s earthen architecture and jungle concealment made it doubly obscure. Rostain’s findings prompt a reevaluation of Amazonian history, shedding light on an ancient civilization previously overlooked due to its earth-based infrastructure and dense forest location.

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