Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

In Guatemala, found more than 60 thousand buildings of the Mayan civilization

In Guatemala, found more than 60 thousand buildings of the Mayan civilization

The LiDAr laser technology penetrates the forest floor to allow an optical vision of what lies beneath.

The hundreds of houses, palaces and roads identified by the surveys have offered new insights into the sophisticated organization of the Mayan civilization at the height of their cultural and political dominance between 250 and 900 AD.

In addition, researchers found Mayan cities had been connected due to highways that were elevated to allow easy ways to get through during tropical seasons. More than 800 square miles of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala's Peten region have been mapped, according to a report by National Geographic, which is airing a television special about the project Tuesday. Based on the data, researchers believe that the region supported an advanced civilization on par with that of ancient Greece or China, rather than a series of isolated city-states. The technology found that the city was also much bigger than what they previously thought. The flow of water was meticulously planned and controlled via canals, dikes, and reservoirs. The findings and the technology behind them - LiDAR (light detection and ranging) - will be the focus of a new National Geographic documentary to premiere on February 6 at 9 p.m. EST titled "Lost Treasure of the Maya Snake King".

Laser Show in the JungleLiDAR is a method of mapping from the sky: An airplane-mounted device sends a constant pulse of laser light across a swath of terrain; precise measurements of how long it takes the emitted breams to bounce off surfaces are taken and translated into topographic data.

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Garrison serves as one of the archaeology advisors to the project, and was fundamental in lobbying for the survey, which is now the single largest ever conducted in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology.

Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University, called the magnitude of the recent survey "breathtaking" and said that the images produced "did bring tears to my eyes".

The researchers made a decision to map an area of 772 square miles in northern Peten jungle, which is close to Mexico.

The study estimates that roughly 10 million people may have lived within the Maya Lowlands, meaning that kind of massive food production might have been needed. He believes the scale and population density has been "grossly underestimated and could in fact be three or four times greater than previously thought". The new discovery is near already-known Maya cities.

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