Within the kernel of the world’s largest and most biologically diverse rainforest, lies the city of Manaus. Previously termed the ‘City of the Forest’, this Amazonian city, which sounds like it could be a German men’s club, is today a booming metropolis.
However, nearby this ode to mankind, the jungle still harbours some of the greatest secrets on Earth. For last month, a local fisherman was hunting in the Rio Negro during its lowest level in 100 years, when he discovered ancient etchings beneath the water.
An unusual drought had parted the notoriously dark waters long enough for carvings of faces and snakes to be revealed and photographed, before the tide of the Black River slowly returned to hide their secret.
Eduardo Neves, President of the Brazilian Society of Archaeology, says the etchings appear between 3000 and 7000 years old, when water levels were much lower. He adds the evidence dispels previous theories of the area being too inhospitable to sustain large civilisations.
Manual Arroyo-Kalin, research associate at University College London, says conventional theories believed the Amazon was inhabited by small nomadic communities. However, now it appears a developed civilisation, substantial in size and older than any previously known, lived deep within this primeval forest world.
While the find is hoped to accelerate efforts to “preserve the rainforest and its ancient secrets”, others believe it harbours a heavy malevolence, which has been preordained by the Black River for thousands of years. The river is warning mankind of its greed via an ancient tale.
Doctor Barnaby Booster, from the Amazonian River Mythological Society (ARMS), tells of an Indian legend, long before recorded history, of the Ichchhadhari snake. It is said the Ichchhadhari descended upon the Earth in the great forest and took the form of men.
This mythical serpent carried a sacred gem called the ‘Mani’, more magnificent than any diamond ever known. Before long, all tried to possess the stone, and one by one, entire forest civilisations were dragged into the depths of the Black River, lost, never to gaze upon the world again.