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2,000-year-old Mayan civilization discovered in northern Guatemala

Ancient Mysteries

2,000-year-old Mayan civilization discovered in northern Guatemala

2,000-year-old Mayan civilization discovered in northern Guatemala

An international team of researchers hailing from the U.S., France, and Guatemala has uncovered a considerable 2,000-year-old Mayan civilization in northern Guatemala through LiDAR survey technology. The group’s findings were published in Ancient Mesoamerica journal, highlighting the significance of their discovery.


LiDAR is an advanced detection system that substitutes laser light for traditional radio waves. As of late, this technology has been used to explore previously hidden parts of dense tropical rain forests in the search for vestiges of ancient civilizations. These lasers possess the capability to penetrate through a vegetative canopy, ultimately unveiling what lies beneath it.

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During a mapping survey in Guatemala, researchers uncovered an expansive ancient Maya civilization that consisted of more than one thousand settlements spread across 650 square miles. These villages were connected by various causeways and paths that indicated a highly organized society. With their new findings, the team has been able to gain insight into how this sophisticated culture functioned centuries ago.

The researchers’ findings were astonishing – not only did they discover that these settlements had once been inhabited, but also that the people who lived there must have been densely packed. This goes against theories suggesting early Mesoamerican populations weren’t as clustered together compared to other civilizations.

The causeways, which are raised paths used as roads, totalled 110 miles and made visits to other settlements much easier. Not only that, but the advanced road network would have enabled collective labor projects too.

The researchers uncovered large platforms and pyramids in some of the settlements, implying that they were centralized centers for work, leisure and politics. Furthermore, ball courts found at these sites indicated a tradition of sports native to the region according to past research results. All this indicates that some of these settlements may have been important social locations as well as economic powerhouses.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that this civilization had constructed canals for transporting water and reservoirs to save it during times of drought.

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