Archaeologists Discover Huge Mayan Civilization Hidden In Guatemala – GuruMeditation

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a vast civilization that was until now completely unknown to science. With the help of a lidar airborne, scientists have found nearly 1,000 archaeological sites spread over 1555 square km and connected by a huge causeway system. This civilization built a structure that formed a network of implicit social, political and economic interactions.

Header image, from study: LiDAR image showing triadic structures in the civic center of El Mirador (the Pyramid do Tigre is the largest in this section of the city). (Richard D. Hansen et al./ Ancient Mesoamerica)

Archaeologists have long believed that in Mesoamerica, the ” Preclassic period (from 1000 BC to 150 AD) was characterized by sporadic human occupation. But that may not be true, it’s more likely that we haven’t found any signs of this occupation yet.

It is not easy to explore the thick and lush tropical forests and see if they hide archaeological treasures. But new tools allow researchers to study these sites remotely. the lidar is a new tool that makes a big difference. Acronym of ” laser imaging, detection, and ranging (laser imaging, detection and ranging), Lidar does exactly what it advertises: it uses a laser to detect and measure the distance between features that are difficult to see with the naked eye. It sends out myriads of pulses in all directions, measures the time it takes for the pulse to return, and calculates the distance based on that.

Because it sends out a large number of pulses, some of them also pass through thick vegetation, allowing researchers to “see” under the canopy. In fact, it is possible to see structures that are not visible to the naked eye. This is why Lidar is so useful in this type of situation to detect archaeological remains.

Richard Hansen, an archaeologist at Idaho State University (USA) and director of the Mirador Basin Project, leads a team that has for years mapped preclassic settlements using both traditional archaeological research and Lidar. Today, the team announces the discovery of a new Maya civilization capable of building complex and elaborate habitats around 2,000 years ago.

From the study: (a) Example of a level 1 site centre, El Mirador. The structures vary between 15 and 72 m high in the areas indicated. The site area is indicated by the dotted red line and the associated city suburbs are connected by intrasite causeways. The monumental architecture and intrasite causeways indicate that the site covers an area of ​​132 km2. (b) The volumetry of one km2 of the civic centre, consisting mainly of the fortified western group of the site, exceeds 4,000,000 m3. (Richard D. Hansen et al./ Ancient Mesoamerica)

Maya Civilization Guatemala 3 22

According to the researchers in their study:

LiDAR analyzes demonstrated the presence of dense concentrations of new and previously unknown contemporary sites, massive platforms and pyramidal constructions. The complex includes networks of causeways, ball courts and reservoirs that required large amounts of labor and resources, amassed by presumably centralized organization and administration.

This mass of labor means that civilization would have had the power to organize thousands of workers and specialists, from lime producers and quarry specialists to architects and logistics technicians. Judging by the monumental structures, all of this would have operated under the authority of law and religious officials, which seems to indicate political homogeneity.

All of this enticing evidence seems to indicate that there was a powerful kingdom-state in the region, one that we knew nothing about.

Some of these colonies were already known to researchers, but were thought to be much less important. This new work not only shows that these sites were more important than previously thought, but that they were all connected in a vast complex.

Apart from palaces, pyramids, causeways and platforms, the complex also had a remarkable water management system. The region has no perennial rivers or lakes except for a few marshes. This meant that this civilization had to build large systems of reservoirs and water distribution – and it did. They built dams to collect and store water, canals to distribute it, reservoirs and dykes. Lidar data uncovered 195 artificial water reservoirs (called aguadas by locals).

According to the researchers:

The presence of dense settlements and centers of varying size […] indicates extraordinary growth and development during periods of Middle Preclassic and Late Maya occupation.

The pavement system is also very important. These routes (essentially raised and cleared platforms serving as roads through the forest and marshes) total 180 km of passable paths, which would have facilitated movement and collective work.

Several of these causeways converge on a 70-meter-high pyramid that served as a magnet for the public and perhaps a place of ritual. The pyramid called La Danta is one of the largest and oldest structures in the world. It is about 72 meters high from the forest floor and is built on a platform with an area of ​​180,000 m2.

From the study: 3D LiDAR view showing the pyramid complex of La Danta, located on the east side of the civic center of El Mirador. (Richard D. Hansen et al./ Ancient Mesoamerica)

Mayan Civilization Guatemala 2 22

According to the researchers in the study:

Based on the natural bedrock configurations beneath the structure, the entire edifice may have required 6,000,000 to 10,000,000 person-days of labor, exceeding the capacity of polities of hierarchical political and economic status lower, and suggesting a high level of organization as the socio-political and economic patron of such prodigious growth.

The study also highlights a “triadic architecture” for many structures observed on the site. Basically, it is a towering structure flanked by two smaller, inward facing mounds. Why this provision was preferred remains unclear.

From survey: LiDAR images of selected triadic monumental structures in the MCKB: (a) Pyramid of Tigre, El Mirador; (b) Structure 1, Nakbe; (c) Xulnal, South Acropolis; (d) Grupo Chicharras, El Mirador; (e) Tres Micos, El Mirador; and (f) El Pavo, Tintal. (Richard D. Hansen et al./ Ancient Mesoamerica)

Maya Civilization Guatemala 1 22

Now that the position of these structures is known, researchers can carry out more in-depth work on the site in order to better understand this civilization. It is quite possible that it is necessary to review the notions acquired on the whole of this period and that there are other great cities or civilizations which are just waiting to be discovered. Moreover, the history and evolution of this civilization remains a mystery in itself.

The researchers conclude:

Extraordinary economic, political and social power was exercised at least in the Middle Preclassic period to form the network of contemporary sites, welded together by an extraordinary network of great dendritic causeways, a unified and homogeneous religious and political ideology. The formation of a unified “kingdom” may have emerged as smaller entities were absorbed into a larger hegemony.

The study published in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica: LiDAR analyzes in the contiguous Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin, Guatemala: an introduction to new perspectives on regional early Maya socioeconomic and political organization.

We would love to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this incredible material

Archaeologists Discover Huge Mayan Civilization Hidden In Guatemala – GuruMeditation

Our social media profiles here as well as other related pages here