STORY – Sightings by plane have unearthed the remains of a vanished culture deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
Dense, hostile, uninhabitable, the Amazonian forest has nevertheless sheltered complex and interconnected civilizations for several centuries. A new study published in the journal Nature reveals the existence of about twenty sites in an area of 4500 km² located in present-day Bolivia.
They are the reminiscences of the Casarabe civilization which populated the forest for nearly a millennium and which, until then, was totally unknown. “For a very long time, our knowledge of pre-Columbian settlements was greatly influenced by our vision of this environment, summarizes Stéphen Rostain, director of research at the Archeology of the Americas laboratory of the CNRS at the Sorbonne. As the Amazon rainforest is sparsely inhabited today, this was thought to have always been the case except for a few small settlements with very basic agricultural systems. But since the development of new tools such as lidar, we realize that this is totally false.