Tuesday, March 06, 2018

LIDAR Finds Mayan Megapolis in Guatemalan Jungle

A vast Mayan megalopolis apparently lies hidden underneath all the trees, creepers and centuries of growth and soil in the Guatemalan forest -- and we might never have found it if not for the wonders of laser technology. The PACUNAM Foundation, which champions the use of scientific research to preserve cultural heritage, has scanned the jungles in the country using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology and found an interconnected network of ancient cities. They discovered 60,000 previously unknown structures without having to cut down a single plant, and that discovery changes many things we thought we knew about the ancient civilization.

The sheer size of the megalopolis suggests that Mayan populations were bigger than we thought. Previous estimates put the Mayan people's population at around 5 million, but now it's possible that there were 10 to 15 million of them. The fact that the team discovered houses, pyramids, palaces and elevated highways even though Mayans didn't use wheels or relied of beasts on burden indicates that they had an organized workforce.

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