Present-day imaging technology is so advanced that it can uncover ancient buildings and structures invisible from the surface, and a recent discovery confirms its capabilities.
The city with the discovery is known as Tikal, located in Guatemala.
It’s believed to have been one of the most advanced settlements in the ancient Maya empire, especially between 200 and 900 CE.
Estimates suggest that, at its peak, it could have had as many as 90,000 residents.
LIDAR technology was used to find the traces of development beneath what initially looked like a natural area.
Curiously, the architectural traits of the ruins seem to point towards the style of buildings in Teotihuacan – a thriving metropolis established hundreds of years prior to the rise of the Aztecs, the product of a mostly unknown culture.
That could provide the researchers with numerous useful clues regarding how the two cities interacted.
They are over 1,000 kilometers away from each other, but it’s well known that traders traveled between the two urban areas.
Stephen Houston, an anthropologist from Brown University in Rhode Island, said:
“What we had taken to be natural hills actually were shown to be modified and conformed to the shape of the citadel – the area that was possibly the imperial palace – at Teotihuacan. Regardless of who built this smaller-scale replica and why, it shows without a doubt that there was a different level of interaction between Tikal and Teotihuacan than previously believed.”
What makes the discovery even more amazing is the fact that Tikal was the main target for exploration and archaeology since the 1950s, which made it one of the most well-documented ancient cities that we know about.
All the time, a significant part of the city was hidden from view.