Lidar technology is becoming an application tool in archeology and can show objects and structures in hours that take months to discover in conventional ways. The latest achievement of this technology is the discovery of a huge ancient structure belonging to the 3,000-year-old Mayan civilization.
The study’s lead author, Takashi Inomata of the University of Arizona, described such a structure as a very important artificial plateau. This unique and unprecedented structure, the largest and oldest of its kind, may remind you of another great discovery, the “Mayan metropolis” in Guatemala.
Such a huge structure, along with a bunch of other foundations and evidence of human activity, impresses you, but if you are on the ground, you can not see them all clearly, because they are usually hidden under many plants.
One of the anthropologists in the study, Patricia McConaughey, stated:
“I did thousands of hours of field work behind a local man paving the way through the forest with a cane. “This time-consuming process requires years and often decades of fieldwork to map large ancient cities such as Tikal in Guatemala.”
Lidar technology can detect the distance between objects and surfaces using a laser. This technology with powerful computational techniques can find the surface below a large volume of trees and produce an accurate map of it.
In a new study, researchers examined a large area of Tabasco in Mexico known as the site of early Mayan civilization. A large-scale, low-resolution lead scan was generated from this area, and then smaller scans with better resolution were obtained, which resulted in the production of good quality images.
The result of these images is the discovery of a huge ceremonial center that is now called “Aguada Fénix” and the biggest features of this artificial plateau are more than 10 meters high and 1.4 kilometers long. These massive plateaus are said to have been used to track the movement of the sun in different seasons and to perform various ceremonies.