A galactic form of prehistoric urbanism

From this post over at one of my new favorite sites FASLANYC, which uses a brief mention of the historic lost (and now found) Amazonian City of Z as the jump off point for a discussion on the role a city’s mythology plays in the invention, development and definition of the city or at least it’s image.

I have come across the work of Michael J. Heckenberger, Associate Professor of Anthropology at my old school, University of Florida before.

Along with his colleagues and graduate students Professor Heckenberger has been studying the archaeology of pre-Columbian polities in the Amazon River basin. Their work has led to a reconsideration of early urbanism and long-term change in tropical forest landscapes.

What I found most interesting was the below phrase from an abstract of an article published in Science 29 on August 2008:, which describes the settlement and land-use patterns of complex societies on the eve of European contact (after 1492) in the Upper Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon.

These patterns constitute a “galactic” form of prehistoric urbanism, sharing features with small-scale urban polities in other areas.

For more info visit Professor Heckenberger’s website (here)


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