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The Amazon's ancient complex of 'lost cities' flourished for a thousand years.

A cluster of "lost cities" that flourished for a millennia have been discovered by archaeologists in the Amazon, with the findings published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Laser imagery revealed intricate networks of roads, neighborhoods and gardens as complex as those built by the Mayan civilization.

The traces of the cities were first noted by archaeologist St├ęphen Rostain at France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) more than 20 years ago, but “I didn’t have a complete overview of the region,” the told Science. 

New laser mapping technology, called lidar, helped researchers see through the forest cover and map out new details of the mounds and structures in the settlements of Ecuador's Upano Valley.

The images revealed more than 6,000 earthen platforms distributed in a geometric pattern, connected by roads and intertwined with the agricultural landscapes and river drainages of an urban agrarian civilization in the eastern foothills of the Andes.

“It was a lost valley of cities," Rostain, who directs investigations at CNRS, told The Associated Press. “It’s incredible.”

Source: www.nbcnews.com

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