In northern Guatemala, a group of archaeologists has unearthed the ruins that belonged to a ancient branch of the Mayan civilization dating back more than 2000 years ago, remained unknown until today. The vast urban complex includes almost 1000 settlements and has been mapped with laser instruments capable of flying over the area.
The tools, which use a technology called LiDARthey revealed a considerable density of Mayan sites, spread over an area of more than 1,600 square kilometres. The discovery overturned the idea we had about the presence of humans in this area in the “preclassic” period, between 1000 BC and 150 AD
Many of these sites are linked – directly or indirectly – to one large network of causewayssuggesting a decidedly rare political organization for that period.
The researchers used LiDAR devices to observe the forest basin from above, looking for ancient settlements (a similar method was recently used to discover a series of new Nazca geoglyphs in Peru). Among the various constructions discovered are huge platforms and pyramids, as well as dozens of playgrounds (typical of Mesoamerican civilizations) and a complex system of canals and water reserves.
The team of researchers finally examined the pyramid “The Danta“, located at the site of El Mirador. 72 meters high, is the largest Mayan building come down to us and, according to the team, would have required an impressive manpower, denoting an unequaled socio-political and economic organization at that time.
Archaeologists hope to continue the search to reveal the secrets of this ancient civilization, and perhaps discover new ruins and pyramids that have been hidden for millennia, in the hope that tourists will not decide to dance on them.