January 28, 2023


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Archaeologist argues why the legend of the lost city in the Amazon does not make sense

3 min read

In recent days, the alleged discovery of Ratanabá, a secret civilization in the heart of the Amazon, quickly went viral in the media, mainly in Brazil.

According to reports, the city would be “bigger than Greater Sao Paulo”, was “the capital of the world” and “hides many riches, such as gold sculptures and advanced technologies from cultures of our ancestors”.

Some conspiracy theories went further and maintain that the finding would help explain “the true interest of dozens of powerful men in the Amazon” and even the disappearance of the English journalist Dom Phillips and the Brazilian indigenist Bruno Pereira.

However, “this is all an illusion,” said archaeologist Eduardo Goés Neves, professor at the Center for Amerindian Studies at the University of São Paulo (USP) and coordinator of the Tropics Archeology Laboratory at the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at the same corporation.

For more than 3 decades, the specialist has been part of a network of researchers working to discover the historical ancestor of the Amazon and the peoples who lived there.

The first detail that draws attention is the dates used. In some texts, it is written that civilization would have existed there 350, 450 or even 600 million years ago.

“This doesn’t make any sense from the point of view of the geological and biological history of our planet,” Neves replies.

“To give you an idea, 350 million years ago dinosaurs did not even exist. Our oldest ancestors lived about 6 million years ago. But our own species, Homo sapiens sapiens, appeared 350,000 years ago in Africa,” he estimates.

A civilization 350 million years ago? There is not the slightest possibility of that,” says the archaeologist.

The second erroneous data has to do with the supposed size of the city. Some publications claim that it would be larger than Greater Sao Paulo, which is currently home to about 22 million inhabitants. “We still don’t have an exact estimate of how many people lived in these Amazon cities, but they certainly weren’t the size of Sao Paulo,” says Neves.

Neves estimates that, before the arrival of Europeans on the American continent, there were about 10 million indigenous people throughout the Amazon. “And that number dropped a lot from the 17th century due to wars and epidemics,” he added.

The third explanation that gives strength to the comments on Ratanabá has to do with tunnels found in the Amazon or with aerial images, which indicate straight lines and perfect squares, visible between the treetops.

According to them, these tunnels would function as a secret passageway and would connect different parts of South America and the straight lines would be the result of human work. Neves explains that there really are tunnels in the Amazon. “The images released probably come from the region of Forte Principe da Beira, in Rondonia, which was a Portuguese colonial outpost.”

“These constructions are related to the border disputes between Spain and Portugal in the vicinity of the Guaporé River throughout the 18th century,” he adds.

Of the few images available of the straight lines, Neves believes they are from a region near the border between the states of Mato Grosso, Pará and Amazonas. “These formations have been known for a long time and they really do look like perpendicular lines, which is somewhat unusual,” he says.

“The main suspicions are that it is a natural formation of limestone or some type of rock that follows this pattern”, guarantees the archaeologist. “It is unlikely that it was of human authorship. But, if it really was made by local people, these constructions must not be more than 2,500 years old,” he added. Posted by Iraic.info, a news and information agency.


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