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Can't believe how BIG it was...


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The Mayan civilization was much bigger than anyone realized — on par with ancient Greece or China, according to a major archaeological breakthrough.


Researchers have digitally unearthed more than 60,000 man-made ruins — including palaces, cities and elevated highways — that have been hidden for centuries in the jungles of northern Guatemala,National Geographic reports.


The Mayan civilization was previously believed to be populated by five million people but the breakthrough shows it may have been up to three times bigger, according to the archaeologists behind the report.


“With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there,” Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist, told the magazine.


Using “revolutionary” laser technology known as LiDAR (“Light Detection And Ranging”), researchers digitally removed a sprawling tree canopy from aerial images of 810 miles of jungle landscape.


It revealed a pre-Columbian civilization — complete with interconnected homes and farms — that was far more complex than most Maya experts had previously believed, according to the report.


“Many [ were] living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable,” Estrada-Belli said, crediting the new technology. “Lidar is revolutionizing archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized astronomy.”


To find the hidden ruins, scholars beamed laser pulses toward the jungle with planes and measured the wavelengths as they bounced back. They then created a three-dimensional image of what is really under the surface of the trees.


Archaeologists had been tediously mapping and excavating the same landscape for years. But the laser technology revealed a 30-foot-long fortification wall that researchers had never before noticed, along with the newly discovered homes and streets.


“Maybe, eventually, we would have gotten to this hilltop where this fortress is, but I was within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and didn’t see anything,” Maya expert Tom Garrisontold Live Science.


The Maya civilization is known for its advanced writing system, calendar, and astronomical system.

I can quote The Golden Girls for any situation in life . :)

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