New visions of ancient Mayan cities emerge thanks to advanced lazer mapping

As imaging technology rapidly advances, we are at once propelled into the future and into the past. By using lazer mapping, the PACUNAM Foundation have discovered more than 60,000 ancient Mayan structures otherwise hidden in the dense jungles of northern Guatemala. A ninety foot high mound, previously thought to be a hill, have been revealed as an impressive pyramid, among many other palaces and houses. The revolutionary technology called LiDAR (“Light Detection and Ranging”) allows researchers to ‘see through’ the jungle. These maps are rewriting previous assumptions about Mayan society. Many previously unknown structures including highways connecting urban centers and quarries as well as complex irrigation and terracing systems reveal that the infrastructure was more complicated and extensive than previously thought. The quantity of structures discovered also reveals that the Mayan metropolis had a much larger population than previously thought. These building were made to last. The ancient Maya never used the wheel or beasts of burden and yet these buildings remain to this day.

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