Republication from Washington Post

by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. February 3 at 3:59 PM Email the author

This digital 3-D image provided by Guatemala’s Mayan Heritage and Nature Foundation, PACUNAM, shows a depiction of the Maya archaeological site at Tikal in Guatemala created using lidar aerial mapping technology.  (Canuto & Auld-Thomas/PACUNAM via AP)

Archaeologists have spent more than a century traipsing through the Guatemalan jungle, Indiana Jones-style, searching through dense vegetation to learn what they could about the Maya civilization that was one of the dominant societies in Mesoamerica for centuries.

But the latest discovery — one archaeologists are calling a “game changer” — didn’t even require a can of bug spray.

Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya: defense works, houses, buildings, industrial-size agricultural fields, even new pyramids. The findings, announced Thursday, are already reshaping long-held views about the size and scope of the Maya civilization.

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