5/16/2006

Ancient "Batey" found in the Amazon...

Astonishing Discovery Deep in the Amazon

They're calling it the "Amazon Stonehenge." Archaeologists have found a massive ancient stone structure in a remote part of the Amazon basin that was probably used as an astronomical observatory or a place of worship, report the BBC News and Agence France Presse.

The site, which is thought to be about 2,000 years old based on the age of fragments of indigenous pottery found nearby, was constructed long before Europeans colonized the area and so suggests that the native people had a sophisticated and advanced knowledge of astronomy--something that contradicts historical views. The appearance bears a striking resemblance to England's Stonehenge, which is several thousand years older than the Amazon site.

Found in Calcoene in the Amapa state of Brazil in the far north of the country near the border with French Guyana, it was constructed of 127 large stone blocks, each of which weighs several tons and measures 10 feet high. Carefully arranged and evenly spaced, they were driven into the ground in an open field on top of a hill. But it is the sophisticated construction with the stones laid out to identify the winter solstice that most impresses the archaeologists. "Only a society with a complex culture could have built such a monument," archaeologist Mariana Petry Cabral, of the Amapa Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, told O Globo newspaper. In December, the sun's rays pass through a hole in of the blocks, which possibly allowed the people to calculate agricultural activity and religious rituals, reports AFP.


UCTP Note: Amazonian Stone "Batey" similar to those found in the Caribbean.