Brazil’s Ancient Amazon Civilization More Developed than Thought

Kuikuro dam in the Brazilian Amazon Scientists have discovered with the help of satellite imagery the remains of ancient once densely populated towns in west Brazil, an area that was thought to be virgin forest. The report in Friday's edition of the journal Science describes clusters of towns and smaller villages that were connected by complex road networks and were arranged around large central plazas.

Researches also discovered signs of farming, wetland management and fish farms in the ancient settlements that are now almost completely covered by rainforest.

The tribes living in the newly found settlements, which date back to before the first Europeans arrived in the Upper Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon in the 15th Century, don't seem to be as sophisticated as well-known cultures like the Maya to the north, but still, their culture was much more complex that anthropologists had believed.

Professor Mike Heckenberger, from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, said that, even though the settlements were not cities, this is still urbanism, as "they have quite remarkable planning and self-organization, more so than many classical examples of what people would call urbanism."

The remains are hardly visible, but they could be identified by members of the Kuikuro tribe, who apparently are the direct descendents of those ancient tribes.

The scientists used both satellite imagery and GPS navigation in order to uncover the towns, which used to be surrounded by large walls, similar to the ones encountered in medieval European and ancient Greek towns.

Heckenberger and colleagues first reported evidence of the culture in 2003, and now they have discovered new details of the ancient civilizations.

The local populations declined considerably after Europeans arrived in the 28 prehistoric residential sites. The people that used to live in the towns are believed to have been wiped out when European colonists arrived and brought diseases with them.



  • Show Comments (8)

  • ch.c.

    “Brazil’s Ancient Amazon Civilization More Developed than Thought ”
    Certainly better developed than Bin Lula, no doubt !


  • forrest allen brown

    stop off at a few places .

    take some pic
    catch some fish
    kil l a pirate or 2

    eat some south alatnic sea bass

  • João da Silva

    [quote]fatima is leaving for brazil in 2 weeks i will bring the boat over to the megllen straits to chilie
    then we will head up the west to panama [/quote]

    Are you going to sail through Indian Ocean and South Atlantic to reach Chile?


    An important detailed – not further elaborated
    It’s remarkable that empirical evidence has finally been unveiled to substantiate previous suspicions and allegations in connection with the existence of actual civilizations within the Amazon Basin. Although the confirmed data so far does not suggest any level of sophistication equivalent to Aztecs, Mayans and Incas, because such villages appear to have been surrounded by Walls (included in the article without further comments), in my opinion automatically points to an additionally significant details. Because Wall building requires significant effort, skill, time and precious resources, neither the residents nor rulers of any such village would have considered engaging in such significant effort without a justifiable reason: Defense against power enemiesÀ¢€¦ Because such potential foes are likely to have possessed equally and possibly superior knowledge & technology, I suspect they may represent either the existence of other civilizations, or incursions by Inca raids in the areaÀ¢€¦.

  • forrest allen brown

    nice to be back on my boat
    things have changed here a bunch ,
    twice as big as it was last time i was here

    not so many boats here am told they have left hong kong also

    other than somlia coast this is where you could use your boat due to

    open water piracy .ships and all are taken over here all for the money .

    one ship was held for 3 months before it was let free and after they unloaded the cargo so they got a 2 fer.

    fatima is leaving for brazil in 2 weeks i will bring the boat over to the megllen straits to chilie
    then we will head up the west to panama

  • João da Silva

    The Guest
    Great to hear from you again and nice that you had a wonderful vacation, while our buddy Forrest was in Beijing to watch the Olympics and send us all the first hand inforegarding China. I too took a few days off.

    [quote]I noticed Ricardo did not answer our questions posted under the article entitled “A Booming Brazil? Just Another Myth Created by the Press.” I quess that means he could not substantiate his statements.[/quote]

    I have been reading RicardoÀ‚´s original article and the comments from time to time. He is locked in a mortal combat with a guy called Tom Lloyds . Besides, Ch.c is also demanding answer from him in other threads. As to ForrestÀ‚´s question:

    [quote]did RA write another 3 or 4 part report[/quote]

    Yes, he did! In his original article. But in all fairness, his plan to develop Brazil is good and can be bettered. But the problem is with his ideas of sources for financing the projects. Also, I do not believe that U.S. economy is going down the drain and Brazilian economy is all that healthy to sustain a continuous growth, as the government likes to brainwash the people into believing so.

    I suggest that you read the first article in (about the Amazon) to be in touch.

    btw, there is a new blogger by name “Augustus” who is also a Brazilian ex-pat in U.S. A very interesting guy.

    Please do keep in touch during the next 15 days before you set sail again. But I have a feeling that during this X-Mas and New Year, you must be on dry land.

    Take care and be in touch.

  • The Guest

    Forrest and JoÀƒ£o
    I think Ricardo’s answer would be yes no matter the cost to their way of life. He would also include the subjects of the following article, “New York Gets to See Documentary on Brazil’s Black Rebel Slaves Villages from 1600s,” which is posted below also.

    Forrest and JoÀƒ£o
    I returned to St. Croix from St. Kitts a few days ago and have been catching up on the articles here. I had a wonderful vacation and family reunion in St Kitts.

    I noticed Ricardo did not answer our questions posted under the article entitled “A Booming Brazil? Just Another Myth Created by the Press.” I quess that means he could not substantiate his statements.
    I have about 15 days of vacation left before I return to work.

  • forrest allen brown

    did RA write another 3 or 4 part report
    so if the places are still being lived in by desends of the tribe

    are they to be moved out and made brazilians or will ti be a place for study

    and learning how to live with the nature around them

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