National Geographic UK – Modern technology has enabled archaeologists to virtually peel back a forest to discover the lost Maya city, an ancient civilisation that existed for up to 3,000 years and stretched from the pacific coast to the gulf coast of Mexico.
The technology, known as LIDAR, shot lasers from a plane through the tree canopy which bounced off of the ground to create an image of the earth below. The images were then used to map and uncover the hidden historical structures that make up the ancient Maya city.
According to a report in The New York Times, a fortified Maya settlement thought to be the capital of the Sak Tz’i’ dynasty is being investigated on private land in southern Mexico by a team of researchers including Charles Golden of Brandeis University. The site is thought to have been occupied as early as 750 B.C. until the end of the Classic period, around A.D. 900.
Golden said that the ruins cover about 100 acres and include an acropolis dominated by a 45-foot-tall pyramid, temples, plazas, reception halls, a palace, ceremonial centers, and a ball court measuring about 350 feet long by 16 feet wide. Inscriptions from other sites had linked the kingdom of Sak Tz’i’ to the Maya cities of Piedras Negras, Bonampak, Palenque, Tonina, and Yaxchilan.