a hidden mayan city of more than 60,000 previously unknown structures have been uncovered beneath thick jungle foliage in guatemala thanks to LiDAR laser technology. a new national geographic documentary revealed the mayan ‘megalopolis’ in what is being called a ‘major breakthrough’ in mayan history.

all images courtesy of national geographic



the virtual maps are made possible using a revolutionary technology called LiDAR (light detection and ranging) which use light from lasers to measure ranges before digitally removing dense greenery from aerial views of northern guatemala. the lasers revealed the remains of a sprawling megalopolis that was far more complex than most specialists had believed.



the discovery suggests that not only is this civilisation larger than presumed, but that early central america supported a society more advanced than ancient greek and chinese cultures. the LiDAR images also show lifted highways that connect urban centers, settlement patterns, and complex irrigation systems. among the most surprising findings was the amount of defensive walls, ramparts, terraces, and fortresses.




the team of archaeologists surveyed more than 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) of the peten jungle, the first of many that will occur over the next three years as part of a research initiative to locate more than 5,000 square miles of guatemala’s lowlands. see the trailer for ‘lost treasures of the maya snake kings’ from national geographic below.


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