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LiDAR survey reveals lost cities in the Amazon rainforest

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A study published in the journal Science has announced the discovery of a dense system of pre-Hispanic urban centres in the Upano Valley of Amazonian Ecuador.

Using light detection and ranging (LiDAR), the study authors have located a landscape of multiple monumental platforms, plazas, and a complex road system that extends for tens of kilometres.

LiDAR is a method of remote sensing using light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

The differences in the laser return times and measuring the wavelengths can be used to compile a 3D digital map of the landscape and remove obscuring features that could hide archaeological features.

According to the researchers, the urban centres were occupied between 500 BC to between AD 300 and 600, completely uprooting the previously held narratives about Amazonian cultures.

Speaking to the BBC, Prof Stephen Rostain from the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, said: “This is older than any other site we know in the Amazon. We have a Eurocentric view of civilisation, but this shows we have to change our idea about what is culture and civilisation.”

The survey has identified over 6,000 rectangular platforms (mainly interpreted to be the bases of ancient dwellings) within five large settlement clusters and 10 smaller settlements, all of which are surrounded by agricultural fields and hillside terraces.

The interconnected road system linking the settlements indicates their simultaneous existence. These cities predate other sophisticated Amazonian societies, including the newly uncovered ancient urban system, Llanos de Mojos, in Bolivia.

While the exact population of the Upano Valley settlements is currently unknown, the study authors note the expansive size of the settlement density. The scale of landscape modification in Upano is comparable to the extensive alterations seen in the “garden cities” of the Classic Maya.

Header Image Credit : Antoine Dorison and Stéphen Rostain

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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