Ancient Builders of the Amazon.

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Ancient Builders of the Amazon.

Post by Gunnar »

I recently discovered a fascinating NOVA episode called Ancient Builders of the Amazon about until fairly recently unsuspected evidence of complex, sophisticated societies that once thrived in the Amazon region of South America, a region previously regarded as primitive wilderness never inhabited by any but small groups of the most primitive of hunter-gatherers. The video is about 53 minutes long and is well worth watching!
Recent stunning discoveries are exploding the myth of the Amazon as a primeval wilderness, revealing traces of ancient civilizations that flourished there for centuries. Dense settlements indicate populations in the millions, supported by sophisticated agricultural systems, while huge geometric earthworks and roadways bear witness to complex religious ideas and social networks. The evidence is now clear that, far from being an untouched wilderness, the Amazon has been shaped by human hands for millennia.
For example, at a site called Monte Grande, they found the remains of a pyramid-like structure 5 to 7 stories high dated by carbon dating to be over 5,000 years old -- older than the Egyptian pyramids and other ancient monumental structures in both Egypt and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures such as those found in Mesopotamia. They had advanced horticultural techniques and raised a variety of domesticated and semi-domesticated crops that they grew on extensive, raised terraces to escape destruction by the frequent flooding prevalent in this extremely humid region, in soil that they created and enriched, generation by generation, using advanced composting techniques. They had little or no need to develop irrigation systems for obvious reasons.

This advanced society was at least 3,000 years older than either the Inca or Nazca empires! What happened to them, and why do we know so little about them? From what archeologists are now figuring out, here were a number of independent, fairly advanced cultures like this spread out throughout the Amazon region from the Andes mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. They apparently thrived until about 1492! Does that give some of you a clue? As related in the documentary, most scholars estimate that within less than 100 years after their first exposure to Europeans, at least 80% of the indigenous population of the Amazon basin succumbed to diseases endemic to Europeans, to which they had no immunity. Many more were killed by the violence of settlers and rubber tappers. As many as 8 million or more died as a result. This was a blow from which their culture could not recover, and the Amazonian jungle quickly reclaimed and obscured their farms and other evidence that their culture had ever existed.

What a sad demise!
No precept or claim is more suspect or more likely to be false than one that can only be supported by invoking the claim of Divine authority for it--no matter who or what claims such authority.
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