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The bandeirante wrote: "The ruins well showed the size and grandeur which must have been there and how populous and opulent it had been in the age in which it flourished."
Grann notes that in 1753 a Portuguese bandeirante - a soldier of fortune - emerged from the Amazon jungle and described how, "after a long and troublesome peregrination, incited by the insatiable greed of gold", he had seen the ruins of an ancient city from a mountain top.