Found: Lost Civilization of the Amazon

Archeologists have a discovered a whole ancient civilization lying underneath the upper Amazon basin. With the unfortunate loss of thousands of square miles of forest, scientists were able to use satellite imagery to locate a network of roads and structures that spans more than 250 km from northern Bolivia to the state of Amazonia in Brazil, The New Yorker reports. So far, researchers have documented 210 structures that might have been constructed in the third century AD.

Native Indians told early conquistadors of a rich civilization nestled deep within the rainforest—a place dubbed El Dorado—but after unsuccessful searches often ending in tragedy, scholars claimed it was no more than a mythical place. Despite this, a British explorer named Percy Harrison Fawcett held on to its existence and went in search of it in 1925. Mind you the man and his team mysteriously disappeared in the process, but his “City of Z” was very similar to the one recently discovered and in the location he claimed it’d be. There, scientists mapped out 20 pre-Columbian settlements (each housing 2,000 to 5,000 people) buried deep within the jungle floor and filled with roadways, plazas and geometric earthworks. And still, this is only a small fraction of what the Amazon holds.