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Hundreds of Sophisticated Mayan Towns Discovered

Researchers studying the Mayan Empire have discovered that hidden under the rainforests of Guatemala are nearly 1,000 habitations, including at least four large cities and miles of raised causeways connecting them.

La Danta Pyramid at El Mirador
La Danta Pyramid at El Mirador | CC 2.0. Dennis Jarvis

New research by the Mirador Basin Project reveals the true scope of territorial reach and the remarkable sophistication of the Maya like never before. Modern tech led to this discovery, courtesy of an aerial LiDAR survey, which uses lasers to reveal the terrain features otherwise hidden below forest canopies.

650 square miles across northern Guatemala’s Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin (MCKB) revealed 30 of the famous ball courts of the Ancient Mesoamerican team sport, 195 cement reservoirs which literally drained nearby lakes dry, and 110 miles of elevated walkways connecting 417 villages.

All of this dates to the middle and late Pre-classical period of Mayan History, contemporary with such famous events as the destruction of the Temple of Solomon by the Babylonians, and the Greco-Persian Wars, including the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

The past 40 years of traditional excavations in the MCKB revealed around 56 sites, including the city of El Mirador, which contains the largest stone pyramid of the Mayan world: La Danta. 205,508 limestone blocks comprise this enormous structure. It’s even larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

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