Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle

  
Via:  dignitatem-societatis  •  2 years ago  •  37 comments

Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle

From National Geographic


A vast, interconnected network of ancient cities was home to millions more people than previously thought.

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.




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Dignitatem Societatis
1  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis    2 years ago
See how LiDAR is revolutionizing archaeology and rewriting history in "Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings," a one-hour special premiering Tuesday, February 6, at 9/8c on National Geographic.

That's this coming Tuesday. Set your DVR's.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1    2 years ago

I read about this earlier today. Very fascinating information. I am looking forward to learning more about this story. The Mayans have been at the forefront of modern development long before many other cultures in so many various ways. They truly are an amazing people. What they knew and did long before other native people is fascinating. The many things that they have left behind of such a learned and well developed society for the world to discover long after they have gone is awesome. 

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.1.1  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Raven Wing @1.1    2 years ago

I love this stuff. I'm a sucker for ruins of ancient or lost civilizations.

I'm always surprised at how many new free standing ruins (not buried) they keep finding down there. You'd think that all the easy to discover stuff would have already been discovered, but obviously that's not the case.

 
 
 
charger 383
1.1.2  charger 383  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.1    2 years ago

I like this stuff, too

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1.3  Raven Wing  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.1    2 years ago

My dream as a young girl was to be an Archaeologist. I studied a lot about the pyramids and various cultures and early civilizations. I was always fascinated by how advanced the Mayan civilization was compared to others of the same time period. I also studied the various migrations of ancient Tribes and their traditions and culture. 

However, I was never able to fulfill my heartfelt wish. So when new discoveries come about I am always excited to learn more about them. 

 
 
 
Freefaller
1.1.4  Freefaller  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.1    2 years ago
surprised at how many new free standing ruins (not buried) they keep finding down there

Lol tropical jungles are called impenetrable for a very good reason and while not precisely buried all these ruins will be completely covered  by organic debris and plants 

 
 
 
tomwcraig
1.1.5  tomwcraig  replied to  Raven Wing @1.1.3    2 years ago

I was always fascinated by the discovery of Chichen Itza and one time thought about becoming an Archaeologist.  However, that and becoming a Volcanologist ended up bowing down to my love of Chemistry...and that ended up going up in flames due to several factors, then cancer put paid to everything except technology...

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.1.6  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Freefaller @1.1.4    2 years ago
Lol tropical jungles are called impenetrable for a very good reason and while not precisely buried all these ruins will be completely covered  by organic debris and plants

Well, yeah. That's what I mean. That's what surprises me. There are still places where large standing ruins can be found that were previously unknown to archaeology. Not underwater, not buried by a volcano or a mudslide, just standing out there in the middle of a wilderness, like the 7 story pyramid this article mentions. That's a big structure.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.1.7  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Raven Wing @1.1.3    2 years ago
My dream as a young girl was to be an Archaeologist.

Arrowhead hunting did that to me when I was a kid. I never formally studied archaeology, but I did take the time to learn some flint knapping, which not only satisfied some of my curiosity, but also gave me quite an appreciation of the skill required to make some of those beautiful points and blades you see in museums.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.1.8  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Freefaller @1.1.4    2 years ago

Well, after watching the show I can see how my surprise was a bit misplaced. That stuff is covered. It's not anywhere near as free-standing and obvious as the LiDAR images in the article make it look. Hence all of the acclaim for LiDAR as a powerful tool for archaeology, I suppose.

 
 
 
cjcold
1.1.9  cjcold  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.7    2 years ago

Knapping was my favorite part of earning a minor in archaeology.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.1.10  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  cjcold @1.1.9    2 years ago

It is fun, isn't it? Until you snap your piece in half, that is. :)

How fancy did you have to get? Were you able to produce bifaces with overshot flakes, or any of those longitudinal flutes shooting up from the base like in Clovis points?

I was only ever able to make an occasional overshot, myself. I could never do it up and down the length of a whole blade with breaking it. Maybe I could have done it in something really easy to work like obsidian, but I was using less glassy chert.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1.11  Raven Wing  replied to  tomwcraig @1.1.5    2 years ago

I am so sorry to hear of your cancer. It it truly a devastating disease. I know of the consequences all too well. I am very glad that you were able to be alive and with us today.

It is often strange how our dreams while young can take such a different turn in life. I studied hard all through high school and on my own time to hopefully be able to go to college and attain my dream. But, the Creator can often have a different plan for us. I can not complain really about the way my lie has turned out, other than the loss of both my children before me. However, Their memories and the time we spent together sustained over the years and has allowed me to move on in ways I never thought possible. 

Maybe in my next life I will be able to realize my dream. (smile)

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1.12  Raven Wing  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.7    2 years ago

One of my biggest thrills was when I lived in No Virginia in the area of the Shenandoah Mts and Valley, which is the homeland of my Maternal Cherokee ancestors. I had a great time researching both areas and learning more about the Tribe from which my ancestors came from. It was really exciting and inspirational as well. The Spirits still call it home, and they are felt.

 
 
 
Freefaller
1.1.13  Freefaller  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.1.8    2 years ago
all of the acclaim for LiDAR

LIDAR is an amazing tool, I've also heard plans for using it in Cambodia, Myanmar and maybe Egypt

Lol yeah I've spent a fair amount of time in and around jungles and unless there is already a path or trail the stuff is damn near impenetrable and when you do you could walk within 10 ft of something big and never know it was there.

Wish I could have seen the show but I don't have the NG channel, I'll have to wait until Discovery or PBS picks it up.

 
 
 
tomwcraig
1.1.14  tomwcraig  replied to  Freefaller @1.1.13    2 years ago

They have used it in Egypt.  They found a city that was abandoned because the Nile delta had some of its waterways change to different areas.

 
 
 
Freefaller
1.1.15  Freefaller  replied to  tomwcraig @1.1.14    2 years ago

Very cool

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
1.2  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1    2 years ago
That's this coming Tuesday. Set your DVR's.

Well, has anyone else watched the show yet? I wasn't all that impressed with the production, myself. They hardly showed anything. They could have done better than that.

 
 
 
Kavika
1.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @1.2    2 years ago

I have not seen the show yet.

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     2 years ago

Great discovery, great article. 

These types of discoveries are quite exciting to me, and the greater knowledge of the indigenous people and their accomplishments is, IMO, a great moment in our history.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @2    2 years ago

Agreed. There is a lot to be learned by looking back in time at the ways those who were here long before us managed to survive and thrive in ways that modern people have yet to understand. The Mayans were indeed way ahead of other most other civilizations of their same time period. Their very history proves that they were very advanced for their time. 

There are many things that can be learned from the ancient people that could be of benefit to our 'modern' world if people really stopped to think about it. 

 
 
 
cjcold
2.1.1  cjcold  replied to  Raven Wing @2.1    2 years ago

Especially learning how to avoid what destroyed their civilization.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
2.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  cjcold @2.1.1    2 years ago

I agree. It will be helpful if we can ever discover what really caused their civilization to disappear. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3  Kavika     2 years ago
 
 
 
Raven Wing
3.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @3    2 years ago

Thanks for the link, Kavka. Another great discovery of the Mayan dynasty. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4  Buzz of the Orient    2 years ago

Although as a kid I wasn't particularly interested in ancient civilizations, and never later studied anthropology or archaeology (except for a university course we as students called "Pots and Pans from Ancient Lands"), I lived within walking distance of the exposed edge of the Niagara Escarpment, with its many layers of rocks formed there over the millenia.

niagaraescarpmentrockscharlinexia.jpg

I would go there and chip away at the rocks looking for fossils - and found many trilobites.

trilobite.jpg

However, I'm probably off topic here.  Sorry.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
4.1  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    2 years ago

Nah. I'm not much of a topic nazi.

Those different colored rock layers are cool. Any idea what caused them?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @4.1    2 years ago

No, I'm not a geologist, but I'll bet Dowser can answer that.

 
 
 
tomwcraig
4.1.2  tomwcraig  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @4.1    2 years ago

The different silts that settled on the floor and glaciation.  Red is a typical sign of Sandstone, but it looks like most of the rocks are schists, shales, and another kind of rock that can easily facture, forget the name of it.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
4.1.3  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  tomwcraig @4.1.2    2 years ago

I was wondering if it wasn't a sign of a shallow sea coming and going several times. Limestone to sandstone to limestone to sandstone, etc.

 
 
 
tomwcraig
4.1.4  tomwcraig  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @4.1.3    2 years ago

You would be correct, I know Pennsylvania was one time under a lake or sea bed.  Around where I grew up near State College, PA we had lots of limestone with some sandstone.  Heck, not too far from where I grew up was a mine that dug out one of the highest quality limestone deposits in the world.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4.1.5  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @4.1    2 years ago
Nah. I'm not much of a topic nazi.

That is refreshing. Neither am I. I like the detour sometimes better than the topic! 

But this is a cool topic btw. I saw a bit of it on the news the other night and it makes you wonder how these people rose so high and then gone. 

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
4.1.6  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.5    2 years ago
I like the detour sometimes better than the topic!

Me too. One thing often leads to another, and then to another. It seems perfectly natural and enjoyable to me.

I'll almost never call anyone out as being off topic unless they are doing it to be intentionally rude or trollish or something.

But this is a cool topic btw. I saw a bit of it on the news the other night and it makes you wonder how these people rose so high and then gone.

Could be wrong, but I'm thinking the Spanish had quite a bit to to with the final collapse of the wider, interconnected civilization.

 
 
 
tomwcraig
4.1.7  tomwcraig  replied to  Dignitatem Societatis @4.1.6    2 years ago

When it comes to rocks and silts, they do oftentimes cover up structures that man has built and therefore are somewhat relevant to the discussion.  Just think about Pompeii.

 
 
 
Dignitatem Societatis
4.1.8  seeder  Dignitatem Societatis  replied to  tomwcraig @4.1.7    2 years ago
Just think about Pompeii.

I sometimes obsess over Pompeii. Sometimes it completely dominates my interests and it's all I think about. I'll be searching out and consuming new articles or images or video about it for days on end. Usually happens two or three times a year. :)

 
 
 
Spikegary
5  Spikegary    2 years ago

Very cool find.  The world is an amazing place.  There is a new show coming on-I just saw the trailer for it the other night about the earth - and what most don't know about it-Bizartre Eath or something like that.  If I can find more info, I will post it.

I wonder if we will ever know exactly why these civilations died off....be interesting if archaeologists can explore some of these ruins......from the inside.

 
 
 
Spikegary
5.1  Spikegary  replied to  Spikegary @5    2 years ago

Just saw the promo.  The new show is called 'One Strange Rock' ion NatGeo.

 
 
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