Using the latest in remote sensing technology – researchers discover more than 60,000 of sophisticated Mayan ruins mapped over 810 square miles in a currently uninhabited area of northern Guatemala.
Thanks to the latest advances in laser technology, researchers were able to uncover the remains of a Maya civilization – which among the thousands of remains included structures such as fortresses, palaces and raised highways.
The magnitude of the discovery is one of the greatest advances of Mayan archaeology in over 150 years, suggesting that Central America supported an advanced civilization more similar to ancient Greece or China than previously thought, as well as a scope and population base that was likely three to four times greater than other research had suggested.
Researchers were able to utilize Lidar imagery (which stands for “light detection and ranging”) to digitally remove the territory’s dense foilage and project a 3D map of what’s actually standing on the now-uninhabited Guatemalan rainforest.
“Lidar is revolutionising archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy,” states Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist and one of the team members who is a part of the survey. “We’ll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we’re seeing.”
For more information on this paradigm-shifting discovery, you can read the BBC article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42916261