Scientists have discovered a Mayan city in the Guatemalan jungle. The city would have had a population of about 10 million people.
Researchers, who used a high-tech mapping technique called LiDAR, have discovered tens of thousands of Mayan houses, buildings, defense works, and pyramids in the dense jungle of the Peten region of Guatemala, suggesting that the Maya civilization was much larger than previously thought.
The discovery of the Mayan megalopolis, which included agricultural fields and irrigation channels, was announced on Thursday by a team of American, European, and Guatemalan archaeologists working together with the Foundation for Maya Cultural and Natural Heritage (PACUNAM).
The newly discovered approximately 1305 square miles Mayan megalopolis extends the area occupied by the Mayans as it was known, whose culture has flourished between the years of 1,000 BC and 900 AD. Their descendants still live in the region, according to the experts.
The high-tech mapping has detected about 60,000 intricate structures, including four Maya ceremonials courts with markets and pyramids, forming this new Mayan city in the Guatemalan jungle.
The results suggest that there are streets linking urban quarry centers, complex irrigation systems and natural terraces where they grow massively, according to the archeologists.
“We had this belief that complex civilizations can not flourish in the tropics, that tropics are the place where civilizations go to death,” says Marcello Canuto, archaeologist at Tulane University.
“LiDAR has revolutionized archeology as the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized the research of the universe,” added Francisco Estrada-Belli, an archeologist at Tulane University.
“We will need 100 years to fully understand the information we have obtained,” he continues.
The study estimates that about 10 million people lived in this area, which means they needed a massive food production.
Even more, the discovery of this new Mayan city in the Guatemalan jungle rewrites the theories according to which the Mayan civilization numbered around 5 million inhabitants, as from now on it is proven that the Mayan civilization numbered at least 15 million Mayans.