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Lidar helps uncover an ancient, kilometer-long Mayan structure, Aguada Fenix Site


kilometer-long Mayan structure

An enormous 3,000-year-old land platform above it with a series of structures, including a 13-foot-tall pyramid, has been identified as the oldest and largest monumental construction found in the Maya region, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.  This is a recent discovery to support the view that some of the earliest structures built in the Maya region were significantly larger than those built more than a millennium later during the Classical Maya period (250-900 AD), when the empire was at its peak.

This discovery took place in the State of Tabasco Mexico at the Aguada Fenix ​​site, about 850 miles east of Mexico City.  It was in an area known as the Maya lowlands, from which Mayan civilization began to emerge.

In 2017, researchers conducted a LiDAR survey that detected platforms and at least nine causeway that led to it.  Breakthrough laser technology is usually used from aircraft to "see" the structure under the dense canopy below, but in this case reveals an amazing discovery that sits unnoticed in front of a semi-forested agricultural land in Tabasco for centuries, if not thousands  year.  The latest discovery is the large structure of Maya, more than one kilometer long, 3,000 years.

Lidar can detect distances to objects and surfaces by reflecting lasers from them.  Empowered by powerful computational techniques, he can see through the canopy and find the ground level below, producing a detailed surface height map.


So why was the great monument at Aguada Fenix ​​not identified beforehand?

 "It's quite difficult to explain, but when you walk on the site, you don't quite realize how powerful the structure is," said archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona, lead author of this paper.  "It is more than 30 feet tall, but the horizontal dimension is so large that you are not aware of its height."

Takeshi Inomata from the University of Arizona is the lead author of a paper describing monumental artificial terrain, published in the journal Nature.

"I have spent thousands of hours of fieldwork running behind a local machete man who will cut a straight line through the forest," wrote anthropologist Patricia McAnany, who was not involved in the research, for comments that also appeared in Nature.  "This time-consuming process requires years, often decades, of field work to map the ancient ancient Maya cities such as Tikal in Guatemala and Caracol in Belize."

You can see the site display below.  If you don't know something is there, you might not see anything other than a slightly geometric hill.  because they are covered by thick tree canopies and bushes.

Aerial Picture without LIDAR

Inomata estimates that the total volume of platforms and buildings above is at least 130 million cubic feet, which is greater than the largest Egyptian pyramid.  He also calculated that it would take 5,000 more than six years to work full time.

"We think this is the center of the ceremony," Inomata said.  "This is a gathering place, maybe involving processions and other rituals that we can only imagine."

Study co-author Verónica Vázquez López from the University of Calgary believes that it might be a statement of intent.  formal collaboration designed to unite various groups of people for generations.

Some features at Aguada Fénix can suggest this collaboration, such as the cache of the valuable jade ax which might symbolize the end of a collaborative construction project.  Archae byologists have also noted that some of the layers of soil used to construct platforms are laid out in a pattern of squares with different soil colors, which may symbolize the contribution of various groups.

Source and image source
Watch the phenomenon at YouTube Ancient Maya Structure

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