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Lidar Technology: An Attempt to Reveal the Mystery of Maya Structures

Over 60,000 new Maya structures, including pyramids, causeways, house foundations and defensive fortifications has been noticed by an aerial survey over northern Guatemala. This discovery has already given a new motivation to the archaeologists to explore new sites and excavate them.

The researchers say that many more ancient Maya lived on the earth than there are people today, and they survived it without the destructive slash-and-burn agriculture activities like destructing the forests lands in modern times. It could be possible as there are things of supporting people in the area without destroying the forest. A new technology called lidar is used in this survey which stands for "light detection and ranging." It works by lightening laser pulses on the ground from airplanes. Lidar works amazingly and maps the topography with such precision that rectangular features like roads, house foundations and plazas all becomes clearly visible. The lidar survey revealed a 30-foot-long fortification wall that was completely unnoticed prior to this research. The discovery of the fortification suggests that Maya warfare were serious battles. For the first time, Lidar was used in archaeology in Costa Rica in 1985. The latest effort was funded by the PACUNAM Foundation and led by Guatemala's PACUNAM LiDAR.  Aerial surveys scanned 2,100 square kilometers over 10 separate areas of northern Guatemala. Some of them had been mapped by hand and some of which were unexplored. More than 60,000 architectural mound structures were found.

By: Anuja Arora



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