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Lidar Study Reveals Guatemala’s Ancient Maya Civilization

Friday, September 28, 2018

Guatemala Lidar surveyNEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—According to a Washington Post report, a light detection and ranging (lidar) survey of 830 square miles of Guatemala’s forests has revealed more than 60,000 structures, including transportation routes, agricultural areas, residences, and fortifications. “All of us saw things we had walked over and we realized, oh wow, we totally missed that,” Marcello Canuto of Tulane University said of the new lidar maps. The study suggests there could be as many as 2.7 million structures over the entire 36,700 square miles of the Maya lowland region that were built during the Classic Period, between about A.D. 650 and 800. And, archaeologists who visited a few of the sites identified in the survey say they found additional buildings not detected by the laser beams. “There is still much more ground to cover and work to do,” said Mary Jane Acuña, director of the El Tintal Archaeological Project. To read about new work on the layout of a Maya city in Guatemala, go to “The City at the Beginning of the World.”

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