El Dorado? Lost city found using Google Earth
Scientists uncover evidence of a lost city -- possibly that of the legendary El Dorado -- using aerial images taken by Google Earth.
Tue, Jan 19 2010 at 11:37 AM
Is it possible that the lost city of El Dorado has been found — using Google Earth? Some scientists believe it’s a strong possibility after researchers discovered more than 200 massive earthworks in the upper Amazon basin near Brazil’s border with Bolivia, according to The Sunday Times of London.
El Dorado, known as the legendary Lost City of Gold, has been sought unsuccessfully since the days of the Spanish conquistadors. It was the obsession of explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones, who called it the City of Z.
Published in the journal Antiquity, the report shows shapes that seem to be the remains of bridges, roads, moats, avenues and squares dated between AD200 to 1283 that could once have been a civilization spanning 155,000 miles and supporting 60,000 people.
The notoriously eccentric Fawcett spent his life searching for the city, disappearing in 1925 on his second and final mission to prove that the City of Z indeed existed.
For modern-day explorers who still hold on to the romantic centuries-old belief that the deepest reaches of the Amazon held a mysterious and amazing city of gold, Google Earth has provided tangible evidence that precludes the need to risk life and limb in the jungle.
Not everyone takes the findings seriously. John Hemming, former director of the Royal Geographical Society and author of the book The Search for El Dorado, told the Times Online that he believes “none of this has anything remotely to do with El Dorado or that racist, incompetent nutter Percy Fawcett.”
El Dorado or not, the earthworks hint at a sophisticated civilization that many historians didn’t previously believe possible.
“For centuries, scientists assumed the jungle was simply a death trap, a ‘counterfeit paradise’ where only small, primitive, nomadic tribes existed,” said David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z.
“These discoveries show the Amazon was, in fact, home to a large civilization that pre-dated the Incas and built an extraordinarily sophisticated society with monumental earthworks.”