Recently, a team of researchers has made an amazing discovery in Guatemala, thanks to laser-mapping technology. It seems that they have managed to identify about 60,000 Maya structures like houses, causeways and fortifications, in the jungles of the Petén region. The team used the groundbreaking LiDAR technology which works by projecting millions of laser beams from a plane to the ground below. When the wavelengths bounce back, the experts use them to create maps. Thanks to this technology, the team of researchers managed to map about 800 square miles of land.
According to Brown University archaeologist Stephen Houston, a collaborator on the project, it may be one of the greatest discoveries in about 150 years of Maya archeology. For years, scientists thought that these cities were mostly isolated and able to sustain themselves. Now, this new discovery sheds light on the actual habits of these populations and the places they lived in. Like the ancient civilizations of China and Greece, Maya cities had connections between them. Moreover, among the discoveries they made, the researchers found a web of causeways which probably linked a number of regions.
The secrets of Maya civilization
According to these recent scans, it looks like the Maya civilization was also a lot larger than previously thought. Therefore, according to National Geographic Explorer Francisco Estrada-Belli, the population may have been between 10 and 15 million people. Many of them were reportedly living in swampy areas that experts previously thought inhabitable.
Many of the recently-discovered structures appear to be stone platforms. These probably acted as support for the homes of the Maya people. Moreover, the team also discovered sophisticated defense systems like ramparts, fortresses and walls. The team also discovered an impressive seven-store pyramid, completely covered in vegetation. People will be able to find out more about these discoveries in the upcoming National Geographic Channel documentary called Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake King. It premieres today.
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