Home Environmental Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya “Megalopolis” Below Guatemalan Jungle (Video)

Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya “Megalopolis” Below Guatemalan Jungle (Video)

Maya
Laser scans revealed more than 60,000 previously unknown Maya structures that were part of a vast network of cities, fortifications, farms, and highways. (COURTESY WILD BLUE MEDIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

“The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

Garrison is part of a consortium of researchers who are participating in the project, which was spearheaded by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Guatemalan nonprofit that fosters scientific research, sustainable development, and cultural heritage preservation.  Continue reading

[See how LiDAR is revolutionizing archaeology and rewriting history in “Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings,” a one-hour special premiering Tuesday, February 6, at 9/8c on National Geographic.NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL

National Geographicexcerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Feb. 6, 2018

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