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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2018, 07:51 PM

2. Hidden Maya Civilization Revealed Beneath Guatemala's Jungle Canopy

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | September 29, 2018 09:19am ET

More than 61,000 ancient Maya structures — from large pyramids to single houses — were lurking beneath the dense jungle canopy in Guatemala, revealing clues about the ancient culture's farming practices, infrastructure, politics and economy, a new aerial survey has revealed.

The Guatemalan jungle is thick and challenging to explore, so researchers mapped the terrain with the help of a technology known as light detection and ranging, or lidar. The lidar images were captured during aerial surveys of the Maya lowland, a region spanning more than 810 square miles (2,100 square kilometers). [See Photos from the Maya Lidar survey]

"Since lidar technology is able to pierce through thick forest canopy and map features on the Earth's surface, it can be used to produce ground maps that enable us to identify human-made features on the ground, such as walls, roads or buildings," Marcello Canuto, director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans, said in a statement.

The aerial lidar survey covered 12 separate areas in Petén, Guatemala, and included both rural and urban Maya settlements. After analyzing the images — which included isolated houses, large palaces, ceremonial centers and pyramids — the researchers determined that up to 11 million people lived in the Maya lowlands during the late Classic period, from A.D. 650 to 800. This number is consistent with previous calculations, the researchers noted in the study, which was published online Friday (Sept. 28) in the journal Science.


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