Deforestation Reveals Signs of 'El Dorado'

Team spots evidence of massive Amazon civilization

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 6, 2010 4:41 AM CST | Updated Jan 6, 2010 7:05 AM CST

(Newser) – The legends of lost cities that drew Spanish explorers to their doom seeking "El Dorado" in the Amazon may have been rooted in truth after all. Deforestation in Brazil and northern Bolivia has revealed signs, including roads and massive earthworks, of an Amazon civilization much bigger than anything previously believed to have existed, reports a team of archeologists.

The structures were found in a region 150 miles across. Some were built as far back as 200 BC, while others date from the 13th century. The finds are clear evidence of a "sophisticated pre-Columbian monument-building society," the researchers write in the journal Antiquity. They believe thousands of other structures are still hidden beneath the jungle canopy.

A deforested area is seen near Novo Progresso in Brazil's northern state of Paral.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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There is a lot more to discover in these places, it's never-ending. Every week we find new structures.
- Denise Schaan, an anthropologist at Brazil's Federal University of Pará

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