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Lasers Reveal 60,000 Ancient Maya Structures in Guatemala

September 28, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

“This is HOLY [expletive] territory,” tweeted one archaeologist about the discoveries.

Laser technology helped detect more than 60,000 previously unknown structures in northern Guatemala.

The largest-ever survey of a region from the . Now, they write that their research provides “robust support” for the view that the central lowlands had a complex structure and supported a large population.

“Every Maya city was bigger and more populated than we previously thought,” archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, one of the study’s authors, told Science News.

The newly-discovered structures, together with the modified agricultural terrain the study also identified, leads researchers to estimate that 7 million to 11 million Maya people lived in northern Guatemala during the civilization’s Late Classic Period from 650 to 800 A.D. The survey, the authors write, “compels a reevaluation of Maya demography, agriculture, and political economy.”

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