Lasers reveal ancient Mayan civilization hiding beneath Guatemalan canopy
05 February, 2018, 03:00 | Author: Essie Rivera
The earliest Maya settlements were constructed around 1,000 B.C., and most major Maya cities collapsed by 900 A.D. The cause of the collapse remains the focus of intense academic debate. However, there are also large new cities with pyramids and palaces in the data as well.
The laser pierces through the smallest gaps in the vegetation to record the lay of the land below with remarkable accuracy.
The technology is a boon for surveys in jungles like those in lowland Guatemala, where dense canopy hinders other methods of aerial survey and thick undergrowth can hide the relationship even between known structures. It also seeks to destroy myths about the civilization's of the tropics who have generally been seen as somewhat less civilized and less centralized in their power and societal structures.
It is noted, in the course of the study, the researchers analyzed the area of 2.1 thousand square kilometers on the territory of the biosphere reserve the Maya Biosphere Reserve, located in the Department of Peten in the North of the country.
Scientists have discovered more than 60,000 shrouded Mayan ruins in Guatemala in a noteworthy archaeological leap discovery.
The researchers were using LiDAR technology, which is short for "light detection and ranging".
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Tulane University archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli says that the surveys reveal that the region was far more densely populated than previously thought: "it's no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there", even in areas that were thought to be uninhabitable.
The research was carried out with the Mayan Cultural and Natural Heritage Foundation (PACUNAM) organization and features a group of more than 30 scientists.
Garrison serves as one of the archaeology advisors to the project, and was fundamental in lobbying for the survey, which is now the single largest ever conducted in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology.
The LiDAR findings are only the beginning. The LiDAR data points to new areas where those answers may be found through fieldwork and excavation.
With the recent prehistoric fossil findings in Israel and the newly unearthed masses at the Turkish site Göbekli Tepe, the Mayan discovery is yet another challenge to our understanding of human history & is evidence that we have much left to learn.
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