COUNCIL CHRONICLE – A recent air scan which used a laser technology called LiDAR revealed new ancient Mayan ruins.These will likely bring additional information on this ancient civilization. The discovery shows that some Mayan cities, for example, Tikal, were much larger than previous research indicated.
Described as a major breakthrough, the air scan results revealed over 60,000 Mayan houses and palaces, along with elevated highways. It also brought to light new features of the cities and fortifications.
The technology, called Light Detection and Ranging, digitally removes the trees from a forest by using aerial images. After such a survey, the researchers even discovered new pyramids and defensive fortifications.
“The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated”, commented Thomas Garrison, an archaeologist part of Ithaca College.
Now, the archaeologists are planning to explore new sites which might lead to more promising results. Until then, the available information confirms that there were more residents living in the area than initially believed. According to Garrison, Mayans did not use the destructive slash-and-burn agriculture.
This Laser Technology, a Promising Solution in Other Areas as Well
LiDAR, the technology utilized, sends laser pulses from airplanes to the ground and measures the wavelengths that bounce back. This way, they help build a 3D image of the ground level objects.
The LiDAR might help reveal what lies hidden under a lowlands forest in Guatemala. It could also create a topographically correct map of the area.
The image created by this laser technology is 30-foot-long (9 meters) and includes fortification. This LiDAR-built map shows the many roads built by the Mayans. It also indicates the areas where the ancient civilization decided not to live.
This can reveal additional information on the Mayans’ choices of farming and water usage. Researchers could learn more of the ways in which the Maya civilization was organized. Or of the way in which they used land in their agricultural systems.
According to the archaeologists, the next step in their study is to find the funding resources necessary for excavating the area.
Image source: Pixabay