With the help of laser scanning, scientists have discovered the "megalopolis" of the Maya
In the jungle in the north of Guatemala, Mayan civilization ruins were found, consisting of more than 60 thousand buildings.
Searches that were conducted on the territory of the Maya Biosphere Reserve Biosphere Reserve covered an area of 2.1 thousand square kilometers. It was possible to detect hitherto unknown ruins of a lost civilization with the help of laser lidar technology (LIDAR - English Light Identification Detection and Ranging - detection, identification and determination of range using light).
With digital processing, Lidar allowed to remove the forest “canopy” from the aerial survey of the unexplored jungle, revealing to the world the ruins of pre-Columbian civilization that stretched for miles. Scientists have found that Mayan cities, such as, for example, Tikal, were much larger than research had suggested.
Scientists have found extensive ruins that were part of a large network of cities, fortifications, farms, terrace systems and irrigation, as well as "highways". It was a civilization that was at the peak of its development about 1200 years ago and is comparable to such cultures as Ancient Greece and China.
The ancient Mayan civilization never used the wheel and animals, but “it was a civilization that literally moved mountains,” says an archaeologist at Tulan University and the National Geographic Explorer who participated in the project.
“Lidar revolutionizes archeology just as the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized astronomy in its time,” the scientists conclude.