Oldest cave art yet? Ancient paintings found in Borneo

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  54 comments

Oldest cave art yet? Ancient paintings found in Borneo
Humans on opposite sides of the world were painting in caves at the same time during the last Ice Age.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


181107-borneo-oldest-cave-art-hands-se-1

Mulberry-colored hand stencils superimposed over older reddish-orange hand stencils. The two styles are separated by at least 20,000 years.Kinez Riza

By Maggie Fox

The oldest figurative cave art may not belong to France or Spain, but to Borneo, researchers said Wednesday.

They found ancient hand prints, depictions of people dancing and a drawing of what appears to be a wild bovine dating back 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in a series of difficult-to-access caves on the island.

The stencils of the animals may be 40,000 or more years old, putting them in the running to be the oldest figurative artwork, the researchers reported in the journal Nature.

“The oldest cave art image we dated is a large painting of an unidentified animal, probably a species of wild cattle still found in the jungles of Borneo. This has a minimum age of around 40,000 years and is now the earliest known figurative artwork,” Maxime Aubert of Australia’s Griffith University, who led the study team, said in a statement.

181107-borneo-oldest-cave-art-humans-se-Human figures from East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. This style is dated to at least 13,600 years ago but could possibly date to the height of the last Glacial Maximum 20,000 years ago.Pindi Setiawan

Even if they are not the absolute record holders in terms of age, the images show that people across the world from one another were doing similar artwork in caves at the same time.

“It is now evident that rock art emerges in Borneo at around the same time as the earliest forms of artistic expression appear in Europe in association with the arrival of modern humans (45,000–43,000 years ago),” Aubert and colleagues wrote in their report.

The limestone caves are in a heavily forested part of Borneo’s Kalimantan province, in Indonesia. Archeologists have been exploring the difficult-to-reach caves, which had been known to be richly decorated by humans.

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Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 weeks ago

Chariots of the Gods anyone?

The spray painting method is very unique. It is highly unlikely that people separated by so much distance could have come up with the same idea. 

I love a good mystery!

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    one week ago

Wow, no takers on some great anthro?

 
 
dave-2693993
1.1.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.1    one week ago

Need a little more time...getting caught up on things after loss of power earlier.

 
 
JohnRussell
1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    one week ago

I agree there may be a mysterious aspect to this, but why would "The Gods" be directing primitive cave art? 

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2    one week ago

The theory is not about actual "gods", but aliens who visited and helped advance mankind. I'm a little tongue in cheek about this. 

 
 
KDMichigan
1.2.2  KDMichigan  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.2.1    one week ago
but aliens who visited and helped advance mankind.

I do not agree with this at all. A billion years from now mankind will only be a extinct spec of life on this planet. 

If there was extraterrestrial life out there hovering around we would know.

 
 
JohnRussell
1.2.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.2.1    one week ago

Yeah, I know what it is. The original Chariots Of The Gods by von Daniken was a hoax. 

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.2.4  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  KDMichigan @1.2.2    one week ago
If there was extraterrestrial life out there hovering around we would know.

In a nearly infinite universe, do you actually think that we are the ONLY beings around?

I think not.

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.2.5  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.3    one week ago

John,

I was joking. Half the people on this site wouldn't even remember that book. 

 
 
charger 383
1.2.6  charger 383  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.2.5    one week ago

I remember reading it

 
 
Nowhere Man
1.2.7  Nowhere Man  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.2.5    one week ago
Half the people on this site wouldn't even remember that book. 

Why not? it was a great read, even if questionable on it's rationalizations....

 
 
MrFrost
1.3  MrFrost  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    one week ago

Does remind me of the movie, "Prometheus". 

 
 
TᵢG
2  TᵢG    one week ago

I read the seed but did not have anything clever to offer.   This is very cool additional evidence of our very distant homosapien ancestors.   Looks like holding hands was in vogue too.

 
 
Ender
3  Ender    one week ago

Maybe they are sitting down...

It is almost like ancient graffiti. 

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ender @3    one week ago

Or a diary of their lives. The paintings show their daily activities 

 
 
XDm9mm
4  XDm9mm    one week ago

I've always said we were an experiment gone awry.   

Besides paintings, how could people of millennia ago build some of the structures they did?

How did people on roughly opposite sides of the planet design and build similar structures at effectively the same time when they didn't even know the other existed?

How did they paint similar 'people' and things?

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  XDm9mm @4    one week ago

It is amazing and unexplainable. No one has actually come up with a theory that holds.  

 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1    one week ago

Simple answer...

ET.....

And he didn't phone home...   he ran like hell laughing all the way

 
 
dave-2693993
5  dave-2693993    one week ago

Based on my extensive stays at the Holiday Inn Express and of course, paying attention to some very good anthropological lecturers, such a professor Alice Roberts at the University of Birmingham, UK, my absolute favorite person to follow when it comes to anthropology, I will take a different tack on the interpretation of the top image presented in this discussion.

Maybe it is just my observation, but often the discoverers of such artistic scenes attribute the portrayed action as some benevolent activity.

What often comes out at the end of the investigations is the opposite. It looks what like is often described a some battle or confrontation. I would say, the battles of epic proportions would probable wind up in historical documentation, such as cave art.

The confrontations such has these are described just as we are seeing it on that wall. The two leaders duke it out while the rest of the tribes/groups jump and arm wave, hoot and holler as  from the side likes, adding energy and support to their favorite warrior in the confrontation.

I don't see anyone in an upside down or horizontal position, so maybe no one suffered severe or lethal injury. Though I am not sure if the individual to the far left suffered an spear through them, or was only one armed or maybe the artist ran out of ink.

======

As far an skills/crafts/technologies developing around the globe in parallel, sure, why not?

Of course if we use the progression of the atlatl and spear throwing and progress to the bow another possibility pops up.

It is widely accepted that atlatatl technology spread as people spread across the globe. Then over time, and I would also say, primarily due to physical environment some peoples in certain environments needed a "better mouse trap", so to speak.

In some regions, the need to "reach out and touch someone or some dinner" became more important than in other regions. This opened the path to development of  the bow and arrow technology sooner rather than later.

In other regions, short range power was more important (mammoths, mastodons, huge hungry bears able to outrun the fastest of Olympic sprinters, etc, etc), the atlatl was improved for power, speed, balance and accuracy.

Interestingly enough, atlatl powered spears were one of the most effective weapons the Aztecs had against the Spanish, as this weapon could punch right through the metal armor worn by the conquistadors.

Of course bows and arrows appeared in the atlatl strongholds as well.

So, was the global progression to bows and arrows a result of human migration as well?

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe a combination or factors.

Let's step outside of the box and consider possibilities.

The more we learn about the ancients and I mean pre classical times, the more we realize how wrong we have been in portraying their true capabilities. Probably more so than anywhere else.

Heck those heathen savages couldn't read or write. Right? Wrong. This includes cultures beyond the Maya (People of the corn). Metallurgy, same story, Astronomy, cosmology, calendars? Yep. Calendars more accurate than ours. Observatory designs which were basically prototypes of what we use today. Light houses for naval navigation? You bet. Pyramids? World wide and across the Americas too.

Trade? Trade routes? For thousands of miles. Right, thousands of miles.

Contact between the old and new worlds? Well the new world got populated during migrations.

BTW the pathway between the old and new worlds was not a quick open and closed door, The door was open for a long time and broad and spacious when the sea levels were some 300ft lower than today.

Maybe some cultural exchange during that time? Bets against the ancients ingenuity, curiosity and desire to explore are being lost on a regular basis these days.

We live in a good time for discovery.

 
 
Ender
5.1  Ender  replied to  dave-2693993 @5    one week ago

It makes me think of even the Roman times. Where they had plumbing and such.

 
 
dave-2693993
5.1.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Ender @5.1    one week ago

Yes and interestingly enough, the civilization living in the Indus valley region of the Indian sub-continent had indoor plumbing beginning around 2,600 years ago according to current dating methods.

Amazing.

Another amazing thing is, aqueducts around the world tend to share many common appearance features. This includes those built by the Aztecs.

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  dave-2693993 @5    one week ago

Hi Dave,

A very well thought out answer. I do think that some of these civilizations didn't have a way to cross path. What I think is more likely, are similar lifestyles lead to similar brain development and so forth. But that is just an idea. I have to say, that you fleshed yours out better. 

 
 
dave-2693993
5.2.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.2    one week ago

Thank you Perrie.

Maybe when we get that Wayback machine, we will know the missing pieces of the puzzles for sure...?

 
 
Eagle Averro
5.2.2  Eagle Averro  replied to  dave-2693993 @5.2.1    one week ago
we will know the missing pieces of the puzzles for sure...?

E.A   Or be authorized to have Science discussions on This Site?

 
 
Kavika
6  Kavika     one week ago
The more we learn about the ancients and I mean pre classical times, the more we realize how wrong we have been in portraying their true capabilities. Probably more so than anywhere else.

BINGO

The timetables of human habitation, discovery and various cultures have been mis represented for decades. I found this article to be quite interesting as SE Asia seems to have been a hot bed of human activity long before we recognized it. 

https://www.ancient-code.com/700000-year-old-stone-tools-point-to-a-mystery-human-ancestor-in-the-philippines/

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @6    one week ago

I would have to give you a BINGO on that, back. When I was studying anthro, back in the day, it was culture that made anthropologists think that man, as we know it came out of both Africa and Asia at the same time. Of course, that has been since disproven by bones, but I think there are other explanations out there, especially since new bones are showing up all the time. 

 
 
Kavika
6.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.1    one week ago

As dave mentioned above how wrong we have been in recognizing or portraying their true capabilities. For example 12 to 1400 years ago Mayan civilization  was at this height. Yet over the years we have missed so much and down played how advanced this society really was.

This is a good article that I believe supports dave contention and also shows that there is much much more to be discovered and to advance our own understanding on these societies that were extremely advanced and much much larger than we thought possible. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/09/27/this-major-discovery-upends-long-held-theories-about-maya-civilization/?utm&utm_term=.716474d82631

 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.1.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    one week ago

I'm going to have to read that article. You might want to post it, in continuation of this discussion. 

 
 
dave-2693993
6.1.3  dave-2693993  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.1    one week ago
When I was studying anthro, back in the day, it was culture that made anthropologists think that man, as we know it came out of both Africa and Asia at the same time. Of course, that has been since disproven by bones,

Such things are happening in geology as well. A geologists from Central Washington State that I follow spoke of a time when they tossed the texts book out and taught from scratch because the amount of new information coming forward made the old text books completely invalid.

There is a lot more new stuff on it's way.

 
 
dave-2693993
6.1.4  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    one week ago
This is a good article that I believe supports dave contention and also shows that there is much much more to be discovered and to advance our own understanding on these societies that were extremely advanced and much much larger than we thought possible. 

It certainly does Kavika.

Not long ago I cam across an article presenting new findings, which if interpreted correctly point to Maya civilization beginning 1,000 years or more years than commonly thought.

Then one has to wonder how the Toltecs fit into that scenario?

 
 
Kavika
6.1.5  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6.1.4    one week ago
Then one has to wonder how the Toltecs fit into that scenario?

Ha, now that is a great question. If I remember correctly the Maya and the Aztecs held the Toltecs in great esteem and in fact much of the Toltec religion can be seen in the Aztec and Maya cultures. 

 
 
dave-2693993
6.1.6  dave-2693993  replied to  dave-2693993 @6.1.4    one week ago
beginning 1,000 years or more years than commonly thought.

Earlier, duh.

 
 
dave-2693993
6.1.7  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.1.5    one week ago

The way things are going, we might get an answer sooner that we might think.

 
 
dave-2693993
6.2  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6    one week ago

Great link Kavika.

Thank you.

 
 
dave-2693993
6.3  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6    one week ago

Fascinating.

Just this week I was reading about the Homo floresiensis. The mind wanders off and considers the possibility of them having been a branch off the "folks" under discussion in the article.

Here is another thing I try to consider. Many of the earth scientists admit to working within "stove pipes" and often don't connect all the dots concerning the all the conditions on earth at the time dates are established.

Let's take a look at one of my favorite of earths conditions over the past 800,000 yrs.

Temperature-change-and-carbon-dioxide-ch

Look there at 700,000 yrs ago. We had a magnificent interglacial then. I expected as much. To be honest, with the articles description of migration moving north to south, I anticipated a warmer interglacial. Interesting, the temps must have been mighty cold in the northern parts of China.

There are some other things in the graph, but that would go off topic.

I wonder what the sea levels were then and the associated influence in mode of travel that may have had?

 
 
Kavika
6.3.1  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6.3    one week ago
I wonder what the sea levels were then and the associated influence in mode of travel that may have had?

That would be very interesting since there have been some recent discoveries off shore that thousands of years ago were dry land. 

This leads me to another article on the Mayan. It's long been established that the Mayan were inland people but recently it's been discovered that a branch of the Mayan culture were ocean people and thrived on the shores and were quite comfortable on the ocean. 

There is a great link to this discovery. 

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/hidden-coastal-culture-of-the-ancient-maya/

 
 
dave-2693993
6.3.2  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.3.1    one week ago

What a read Kavika.

Part of the article backs up some other reading of mine of Spanish description of sea faring towns and light houses on the shores of Maya territories.

The underwater finds are proof of untapped off shore archeology ready to offer new discoveries.

The heavily forested areas are also some of the most challenging, yet technology is opening that door. These environments are nothing like the arid regions of the middle east, were there is very little rot.

 
 
Kavika
6.3.3  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6.3.2    one week ago

Remember that article a couple of months ago on the Indian grave yard found off the shore of Florida. It survived because much of it was buried in peat moss...The same with the wooden fence posts in this article...Very cool.

 
 
dave-2693993
6.3.4  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.3.3    one week ago

Yes, I do remember that story Kavika.

Found one of the write ups. There are some additional links embedded within the article that are well worth following.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/florida-native-american-indian-burial-underwater/

By Megan Gannon

PUBLISHED February 28, 2018

Venice is Florida's unofficial capital of fossil hunting. Divers and beachcombers flock to this city on the Gulf Coast, mostly seeking palm-sized teeth of the Megalodon, the enormous shark species that went extinct 2 and half million years ago. In the summer of 2016, a diver searching for those relics picked up a barnacle-crusted jaw from a shallow spot off the shore of Manasota Key. The specimen sat on a paper plate in his kitchen for a couple weeks before he realized it was probably a human bone.

The diver sent a picture to Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, where it landed in front of Ryan Duggins, the bureau’s underwater archaeology supervisor. A single molar was still attached to the jawbone, and the tooth’s cusps were worn smooth, likely from a diet of tough foods. “That’s something we don’t see in modern populations, so that was a quick indicator we were dealing with a prehistoric individual,” Duggins explains.

With a team of fellow underwater archaeologists, Duggins relocated the dive spot about 300 yards from the shore and 21 feet below the surface. “As soon as we were there it became clear that we were dealing with something new,” Duggins recalls. First, he spotted a broken arm bone on the seabed. Then, when he noticed a cluster of carved wooden stakes and three separate skull fragments in a depression, Duggins realized he might be dealing with a Native American bog burial site—one that had been inundated by sea level rise, but was miraculously preserved.

The discovery was announced today by the Florida Department of State.

During the last ice age, the Floridian peninsula looked more like a stubby thumb than an index finger. But beginning around 14,000 years ago, the global climate began to warm, causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise. Florida shrank over the next several millennia, and countless places where prehistoric people once lived, hunted, and buried their dead disappeared beneath the waves.

Marine archaeologists traditionally believed those now-submerged sites would be too fragile and ephemeral to survive the violent thrashing of the sea. “The vast majority of underwater archaeological projects have historically been focused on shipwrecks,” Duggins says. However, in the past couple of decades, some prehistoric sites, mostly scatters of stone tools, have been identified off Florida’s coast. Duggins thinks what he found near Manasota Key proves these underwater landscapes have much more archaeological potential.

In 2017, the team went back to the site to excavate a small test unit. They carefully dug through layers of peat beneath the seabed, sometimes using chopsticks and pastry brushes. They found densely packed organic remains, including more human bones, sharpened wooden stakes and textile fragments. Radiocarbon tests on the wood indicate the site dates to 7,000 years ago, during the Early Archaic period, a time when Florida’s hunter-gatherers were starting to live in permanent villages and adopt a sedentary lifestyle. So far, the researchers have counted a minimum of six individual sets of human remains, but “there’s probably going to be a lot more,” Duggins says, adding that their surveys of the site suggest the whole graveyard could spread across an acre.

Archaeologists already know that some ancient Floridians during this time period buried their dead in shallow, peat-bottomed ponds. In the 1980s, construction workers found human remains while clearing muck from a pond near Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast. Excavations at the so-called Windover site revealed an 8,000-year-old peat graveyard with more than 160 skeletons, some with their brains still preserved, as well as wooden stakes and textiles. Similar burial practices were also found at sites like Ryder Pond, Republic Groves and Bay West, Duggins notes, but all of these were inland.

“What we currently are thinking is that when an individual passed, they would have been wrapped in handwoven fibers and sunk to the bottom of the pond,” he explained. “A series of fire-hardened and sharpened stakes would be pounded into the pond bed around the body with the tops of those stakes protruding above the water line.”

Similarly, Duggins thinks the site near Venice would have been a watery graveyard, a small pond in a marsh made up of infilled sinkholes and natural springs, at a time when the site was likely 10 feet above sea level and part of Florida’s mainland.

Michael Faught, an archaeologist who pioneered prehistoric underwater archaeology in Florida, says the Manasota Key Offshore site has “impressive preservation of organic material that are rare terrestrially.”

“These items can help us reconstruct environment, subsistence, and cultural behaviors, and these data can be used to see how behaviors evolved over time, or if there are new immigrants to the area, or both,” Faught adds.

That scientific information hasn’t been gleaned from the human remains and artifacts just yet. The bones are undergoing a slow drying and desalination process at the Forensics Studies Lab run by anthropologist Heather Walsh-Haney at Florida Gulf Coast University. Once the bones enter the collection of Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, the department will send out a nationwide notice to Native American tribes who may want to claim ancestry of the remains and have them repatriated under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Duggins is already consulting with the Seminole Tribe of Florida on respectful treatment of the remains.

“We are happy to be working, shoulder to shoulder, with the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the residents of Manasota Key to identify a preservation plan that will allow the ancestors to continue to rest peacefully and without human disturbance for the next 7,000 years,” Paul Backhouse, the tribal historic preservation officer for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said in a statement.

Duggins has also been trying to raise awareness locally with groups like the Manasota Key Association that could help keep watch over the underwater graveyard. In Florida, removing items from an archaeological site without authorization is a misdemeanor; knowingly disturbing an unmarked grave is a felony. Thousands of people visit the nearby beaches and waters, and archaeologists don’t want a site that’s remained largely intact for millennia to be destroyed by mundane activity, like anchor dropping, or worse, looting.

“We only know about it because someone came forward,” Duggins says.

 
 
Kavika
6.3.5  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6.3.4    one week ago

Thanks, dave.

 
 
Kavika
7  Kavika     one week ago

This major discovery upends long-held theories about the Maya civilization
New technology allows scientists to visualize ancient Maya cities like never before
A lidar survey over the ancient city of Tikal strips away the vegetation to show the hidden structures. The total coverage included 10 important archaeological (Luke Auld-Thomas and Francisco Estrada-Belli/PACUNAM)

By Ben Guarino September 27
In the autumn of 1929, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her husband Charles flew across the Yucatán Peninsula. With Charles at the controls, Anne snapped photographs of the jungles just below. She wrote in her journal of Maya structures obscured by large humps of vegetation. A bright stone wall peeked through the leaves, “unspeakably alone and majestic and desolate — the mark of a great civilization gone."

Nearly a century later, surveyors once again took flight over the ancient Maya empire, and mapped the Guatemala forests with lasers. The 2016 survey, whose first results were published this week in the journal Science, comprises a dozen plots covering 830 square miles, an area larger than the island of Maui. It is the largest such survey of the Maya region, ever.

The study authors describe the results as a revelation. “It’s like putting glasses on when your eyesight is blurry,” said study author Mary Jane Acuña, director of El Tintal Archaeological Project in Guatemala.

In the past, archaeologists had argued that small, disconnected city-states dotted the Maya lowlands, though that conception is falling out of favor. This study shows that the Maya could extensively “exploit and manipulate” their environment and geography, Acuña said. Maya agriculture sustained large populations, who in turn forged relationships across the region.

Combing through the scans, Acuña and her colleagues, an international 18-strong scientific team, tallied 61,480 structures. These included: 60 miles of causeways, roads and canals that connected cities; large maize farms; houses large and small; and, surprisingly, defensive fortifications that suggest the Maya came under attack from the west of Central America.

“We were all humbled,” said Tulane University anthropologist Marcello Canuto, the study’s lead author. “All of us saw things we had walked over and we realized, oh wow, we totally missed that.”

Preliminary images from the survey went public in February, to the delight of archaeologists like Sarah Parcak. Parcak, who was not involved with the research, wrote on Twitter, “Hey all: you realize that researchers just used lasers to find *60,000* new sites in Guatemala?!? This is HOLY [expletive] territory.”

A photograph (above) and a reconstructed lidar image (below) of Maya ruins. (Luke Auld-Thomas and Marcello A. Canuto/PACUNAM)
Parcak, whose space archaeology program GlobalXplorer.org has been described as the love child of Google Earth and Indiana Jones, is a champion of using satellite data to remotely observe sites in Egypt and elsewhere. “The scale of information that we’re able to collect now is unprecedented,” Parcak said, adding that this survey is “going to upend long-held theories about ancient Maya society.”

With support from a Guatemala-based heritage foundation called Pacunam, the researchers conducted the massive and expensive survey using lidar, or light detection and ranging. They mapped several active archaeological sites, plus well-studied Maya cities like Tikal and Uaxactun.

Lidar’s principles are similar to radar, except instead of radio waves lidar relies on laser light. From an aircraft flying just a few thousand feet above the canopy, the surveyors prickled each square meter with 15 laser pulses. Those pulses penetrate vegetation but bounce back from hard stone surfaces. Using lidar, you can’t see the forest through the invisible trees.

Beneath the thick jungle, ruins appeared. Lots and lots of them. Extrapolated over the 36,700 square miles, which encompasses the total Maya lowland region, the authors estimate the Maya built as many as 2.7 million structures. These would have supported 7 million to 11 million people during the Classic Period of Maya civilization, around the years 650 to 800, in line with other Maya population estimates.

“We’ve been working in this area for over a century,” Canuto said. “It’s not terra incognita, but we didn’t have a good appreciation for what was really there.”

Archaeologist Arlen Chase, a Maya specialist at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas who was not involved with this survey, said for years he has argued that the Maya society was more complex than widely accepted. In 1998, he and archaeologist Diane Chase, his wife, described elaborate agricultural terraces at the Maya city of Caracol in Belize. “Everybody would not believe we had terraces!” he said.

He gets much less push back now, he said. “The paradigm shift that we’ve predicted was happening is in fact happening” Chase said, which he credits to lidar data. He has seen lidar evolve from a “hush-hush type of technology” used by the military to map Fallujah streets to a powerful archaeological tool.

Chase, who previously used lidar at Caracol, where as many as 100,000 people lived, compares this technology to carbon-14 dating. Radiocarbon dating gives archaeologists a much more accurate timeline. Lidar is about to do the same for archaeologists’ sense of space, particularly in densely forested areas near the equator. Two years ago, researchers used lidar mapped dense urban infrastructure around Angkor, the seat of the medieval Khmer Empire in Cambodia.

“We’re just getting started in so many major sites around the world, whether it’s Angkor Wat, whether it’s Tikal in Central America or major sites in Egypt,” Parcak said.

The evolution of lidar terrain data, showing Dos Torres, in the rugged karst hills between the cities of Tikal and Uaxactun. Shaded relief terrain visualizations (left) can conceal subtle but important details, like low mounds or cross-channel terraces. More complex visualizations such as the Red Relief Image Map (center) make those details pop, but even so archaeologists must identify and classify features manually for subsequent analysis (right). (Luke Auld-Thomas and Marcello A. Canuto/PACUNAM) (QGIS 3.2.2-Bonn)
For all its power, lidar cannot supplant old-fashioned archaeology. For 8 percent of the survey area, the archaeologists confirmed the lidar data with boots-on-the-ground visits. This “ground truthing” suggests that the lidar analysis was conservative — they found the predicted structures, and then some.

“There is still much more ground to cover and work to do,” said Acuña, who will continue to study the large ancient Maya city of El Tindal.

Could you imagine, Canuto said, what might be found through a lidar survey of the Amazon? With technology like this, no forested frontiers are final.

 
 
Ender
7.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @7    one week ago

I saw something like that. A documentary where they can survey the area and strip away the rain forest. They could get a visual of hidden ruins within. If I remember correctly, they found roads and everything. The Mayan civilization was much larger than previously thought.

 
 
Kavika
7.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Ender @7.1    one week ago

Just in this one area they found over 6,000 buildings and 60 miles of roads...This radar has now been used to discover a number of cities that were known to exist only in myths...Now they are real. 

This and the ground penetrating radar has been a boon to the archaeology community.

 
 
Kavika
8  Kavika     one week ago

Here is another recent discovery using the lidar radar...Cuidad Blanco (White City also known as the City of the Monkey God) in Honduras. An amazing discovery of a mythical city that proved to  be very real. 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150302-honduras-lost-city-monkey-god-maya-ancient-archaeology/

 
 
dave-2693993
8.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @8    one week ago

Another good read Kavika. Hopefully the area won't be ruined by the loggers.

 
 
Kavika
8.1.1  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @8.1    one week ago
Hopefully the area won't be ruined by the loggers.

That has been a huge problem in South and Central America. Illegal loggers and gold miners.

 
 
dave-2693993
8.1.2  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @8.1.1    one week ago

Unfortunately, these folks are pretty much unchallenged.

 
 
TTGA
8.1.3  TTGA  replied to  Kavika @8.1.1    one week ago

Unfortunately, there is an even bigger problem.  Once the location of ruins becomes generally known, artifact hunters move into the area.  Since the national governments don't have sufficient resources to stop them and because selling illegally collected artifacts is very profitable, thus making large bribes possible, they are subject to very little restraint.  Archeologists can derive a great deal of information about a culture by seeing undisturbed artifacts.  Once they are removed from the location in which they were originally deposited, the information level drops off dramatically.

 
 
pat wilson
9  pat wilson    one week ago

My friend is traveling around Morocco right now, posted this photo.

512

 
 
pat wilson
9.1  pat wilson  replied to  pat wilson @9    one week ago

Hands are a favorite motif.

 
 
Kavika
9.2  Kavika   replied to  pat wilson @9    one week ago

Very cool photo, pat.

 
 
dave-2693993
9.3  dave-2693993  replied to  pat wilson @9    one week ago

What part of Morocco is that Pat?

 
 
pat wilson
9.3.1  pat wilson  replied to  dave-2693993 @9.3    one week ago

Assilah

 
 
dave-2693993
9.3.2  dave-2693993  replied to  pat wilson @9.3.1    one week ago

Thank you.

 
 
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