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Originally posted by spirit_horse
The other thing is the shadow it casts.
From Cultivated Landscapes of Native Amazonia and the Andes by William Denevan: In Mojos there are four main types of savanna fields that were raised and drained for cultivation; (1) platform fields where earth was piled up to form low, rectangular flat surfaces, (2) narrow, ridged fields, (3) fields consisting of regularly spaced small mounds, and (4) fields in which ditches were dug to provide drainage. … I saw from the air or on aerial photographs an estimated 5,000 large platform fields, 6,00 ridged fields, and 24,000 ditched fields for a total of 35,000 individually drained fields, not to mention a dozen mound fields each containing hundreds of mounds. … I only flew over a portion of the region having fields; and identifying fields on aerial photographs is difficult, even when the exact location of the fields is known. Consequently, there are many more drained fields than represented by the above figures. A total of 100,000 linear drained fields occupying at least 6,000 ha (15,000 acres) of field surface spread unevenly over the western Beni is a minimum estimate. There could be several hundred thousand fields. Bill Denevan was the first to note the ancient cultivated fields. University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Clark Erickson has since discovered many more of these features in Mojos. That quantity of cultivated land, where manioc, maize, sweet potatoes, and cotton were probably grown, could have supported a sizable population of possibly several hundred thousand. Recent studies have also identified modified soils such as terra preta, the Amazon dark earths that were amended by charcoal and compost. Millions of acres of terra preta have been found in the allegedly “pristine” Amazon rainforest, indications of large sedentary civilizations that persisted for centuries prior to Columbus and the introduction of Eurasian diseases.