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Ancient Mysteries

Vast Mayan city found in Guatemalan jungle

February 3, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments



The ruins had remained hidden for centuries. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Simon Burchell
A major new discovery has revealed tens of thousands of hidden pyramids, houses, defence works and more.
Announced this week by an alliance of US, European and Guatemalan archaeologists, the incredible lost city was found using a technique known as LIDAR ( light detection and ranging ) which involves firing lasers from an aircraft to build up a picture of what lies beneath dense jungle foliage.

In addition to buildings, the team discovered evidence of industrial-sized agricultural fields and irrigation canals, suggesting that the city's population would have numbered in the millions.

In total more than 60,000 individual structures were found spread across the region.
"I found it, but if I had not had the LIDAR and known that that's what it was, I would have walked right over it, because of how dense the jungle is," said Thomas Garrison of Ithaca College in New York.

"The jungle, which has hindered us in our discovery efforts for so long, has actually worked as this great preservative tool of the impact the culture had across the landscape."



Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
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Comment icon #2 Posted by skliss 4 years ago
Awesome!
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 4 years ago
Was just reading about this earlier today. Very Awesome finds. I look forward to hearing more about what they've found. They said there may have been up to 10 million people living there with 95% of the arable land being cultivated. WOW!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Unfortunately 4 years ago
Whoever decided to use this LIDAR technology for searching the jungle must be a very intuitive person, I really appreciate the fact they can pinpoint where the find is and in doing so minimise the total amount of damage done to the surrounding forests during excavation. It'll be fascinating to hear of further progress. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Tatetopa 4 years ago
I just read a book with  a corny title  Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston.  It is about a city found in Honduras by Lidar.  There is an extensive explanation and history of the use of Lidar.   I believe NASA and the military had a big hand in it.  The cool thing about the technology is that the detector sends out laser pulses many thousands of times per second.   (a little arm waving, I don't remember the frequency) In the jungle most are reflected by forest canopy, but enough make it through holes in the leaf cover to see the ground.  It has very high resolution, down to meters. ... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Hammerclaw 4 years ago
No, but it can certainly point to where those boots should go. Before the Great Dying, the New World was as densely populated as much of the old world. A trip to Yucatan before the collapse of it's civilization would have been comparable to a trip to India or Australasia in the same period.
Comment icon #7 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
Now if someone can get that stash of cash together, all those Archeology Graduates got somewhere to go a digging ... ~
Comment icon #8 Posted by BorizBadinov 4 years ago
The military application was recon in heavy cover to find enemy encampments. I think archaeology was more of a happy accident.  While its true that the tool doesn't give us fine detail about a structure what is truly amazing about it is the perspective gained from looking at a structure in context with other structures that might not be obvious from ground level. It can help identify possible uses by proximity as well as completely obscured subterranean vaults. I watched a documentary on this becoming a solid facet of archaeology.   And like Hammerclaw states knowing where to go is far more th... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Tatetopa 4 years ago
It is amazing what will be revealed.  The complexity of a large region brings a whole new insight. Lidar may not be the right tool, but it would be nice to see a ground penetrating radar analysis or areas left of the Mississippi river mound cultures.  Lidar may be the tool in some areas of the SE United States that are overgrown and difficult to survey.


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