Paris on the Amazon

By Kuchment, Anna | Newsweek International, September 29, 2003 | Go to article overview

Paris on the Amazon


Kuchment, Anna, Newsweek International


The last remote and pristine forest on our distressed and overcrowded earth" is how Greenpeace describes the Amazon River Valley. For decades now, this romantic view of the Amazon, as a vestige of the once free land corrupted by the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century, has persisted in the popular imagination. Scientists also assumed, without evidence to the contrary, that indigenous tribes tiptoed their way through the forest, living their lives while leaving nature almost completely undisturbed. Human settlements and the grab for gold and timber, they thought, came to the world's largest rain forest only in the last few hundred years.

Now scientists are painting a radically different picture of the Amazon's prehistory. Long before Christopher Columbus dropped anchor in the New World, indigenous tribes were breaking ground on their version of Paris on the Amazon. They burned and chopped down swaths of rain forest to make way for majestic boulevards and circular plazas. They built networks of dikes, ponds and bridges and cleared acres of farmland to grow piqui, a palm fruit, and manioc, a cousin of the potato. Although they lived in mud and thatch huts and relied on their feet, not on animals or even carts, for transportation, their architectural vision rivaled that of the 19th-century Parisian planner, Baron Haussmann. "There was no pristine forest," says Michael Heckenberger, an archeologist at Florida State University in Gainesville and author of a study last week in the journal Science. "No part of it was untouched, unclaimed by human hands. What was there was left intentionally."

Heckenberger reached this conclusion after spending the past 12 years traveling with two Xinguano chiefs, whose names appear as coauthors, through the upper reaches of the Xingu, a sparsely settled tributary of the Amazon that flows through northeastern Brazil. They unearthed centuries of lost tribal history: dark, charcoal-rich earth and bits of ceramics marking the sites of old villages and mounds of soil testifying to ancient curbs, which the Xinguano used to mark the edges of their roads and the borders of villages. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Paris on the Amazon
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.