In the beginning it was the man … and he was looking at the stars. The cosmos was always there for her. The different ideas that were made of it led to different representations. Some are clearly visible, others less so. In the Amazon, for example, nature makes it difficult for the observer to see. But radar technology now made it possible to see that the ancient Amazonians represented the cosmos … in their villages.
Fly over the Amazon
The pictures were taken from a helicopter. Thanks to this, ruins of ancient villas were discovered in the Brazilian Amazon. They are organized in a circle. Archaeological excavations and deforestation had already revealed their presence. These circular villages are located in the woods in the south of the state of Acre in Brazil. However, the full extent of the structures and their organization were previously unknown.
A group of experts from the University of Exeter in the UK was commissioned to study the issue. It flew with laser sensors over the rainforest in the south of the Brazilian state. So they mapped the ruins of ancient settlements that hundreds of years ago were hidden under the thick layer of jungle forest.
«The ldar allowed us to discover these cities and their characteristics like roads. It wasn’t possible before. Most of them are not visible in the best available satellite data, ”said José Iriarte. He is the lead author of the study and an archaeologist at the University of Exeter.
Scientists have found a total of 35 elevated mansions built by the Akreans who lived there between AD 1,300 and 1,700. The villages were arranged in circles consisting of three to 32 hills. Their diameters were between 40 and 153 meters. In the middle there were squares up to 1.8 hectares in size. This is how the ancient Amazonians represented the cosmos and its circular conception.
Circular conception of the cosmos
Each settlement was linked by straight roads that radiated from the center of the villages. Most of them had a few wider and deeper main roads to the north and south, as well as secondary roads. Together these streets formed a network of interconnected settlements that stretched for many kilometers.
This indicates that these indigenous peoples had defined social and architectural models to organize themselves. Experts say the circular pattern may have been a reflection of the ancient natives’ perception of the cosmos. They saw it clearly circular, with constellations moving around the earth.
The full study results were published in the Journal of Computer Applications in Archeology. In addition, a documentary series was produced with the images taken during the expedition. It has been shown on UK television since December 5th.