[Geowanking] Re: 30, 000 square miles of earthworks in Beni, Bolivia
anselm at gmail.com
Tue Mar 6 22:10:19 PST 2007
On further googling I see there is another location of these
precolumbian fishweirs; it is not entirely clear still precisely where
these features are visible.
In any case even more links for your amusement:
Here's a quote that summarizes the basics:
"The most impressive landscape feature in Baures are the dense
networks of long causeways and canals that cross the savannas,
wetlands and forested islands. A (possibly prehispanic) 15 km long
causeway and canal connected the towns of Baures and Guacaraje until
the 1930s when it was abandoned. Some segments of old causeways
between local settlements and ranches are still used today for
communication and transportation during the rainy season. The "Baures
Hydraulic Complex" located between the Rio San Joaquin and the Rio San
Martin to the east of the town of Baures has the densest concentration
of these features. There are thousands of linear kilometers of
causeways and canals in this zone. Most are remarkably straight. Many
cross over one another and some connect to other causeways. There are
a number of cases where 2-4 causeways run parallel to each other. On
the ground, these causeways are low structures of 0.25-1.0 m in
elevation, 4-6 meters wide and often 2-5 km long. Most are badly
eroded and many are covered with trees and bushes, a sharp contrast to
the surrounding grass covered savanna. Foot traffic would have used
the raised roadways and canoe traffic would have been possible in the
adjacent canals. The most basic function of these features would have
been for communication and transportation between settlements, rivers,
and agricultural fields, but it is possible that some of these had a
hydraulic function (Lee 1995, Erickson et al. 1995). The obsession
with straightness over long distances, the "overengineering" of the
designs and construction, and the sheer number of these features
indicates that they may have also had a ritual function, possibly
associated with astronomy, calendrics, or specific ceremonies.
On 3/6/07, Anselm Hook <anselm at gmail.com> wrote:
> Reading '1491' ...
> Apparently if you fly over Beni in eastern Bolivia you'll see an
> endless landscape of raised islands of forest, many of which are
> almost perfect circles. Connecting these islands are raised berms up
> to three miles long and perfectly straight.
> Digging has found that some of the islands are built up / or have some
> portion of fired clay shards / ceramic; as if they were refuse piles;
> although on a massive scale beyond what it seems would be refuse.
> Some people ( Clark Erickson and William Balee ) think that this might
> have been a dense zigzagging network of earth fish weirs; effectively
> fisheries. They figure that it must have taken thousands of people to
> maintain such a system... let alone build it over time.
> Here's more on on the subject:
> I can't quite see this on google maps; perhaps somebody else might be
> able to find it:
> http://www.fallingrain.com/icao/SLSA.html ( apparently near Santa Ana
> Del Yacuma )
> Unfortunately no high resolution data here - maybe Nasa World Wind
> might do a better job.
> Why don't archeologists ever actually supply longitude and latitude?
> It's always "somewhere really far away that you can't be bothered to
> actually go look for but quite interesting really".
> In any case, this challenges the idea of 'primitive' or 'natural
> state' indians who only made small changes to their environment. It
> feels like there was an advanced biotechnics that we cannot see
> because of our prejudice. The entire landscape may have consisted of
> "anthropogenic" forests; created by humans to fit their needs... and
> there may be no "nature" to protect.
> - a
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