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Archaeologists discover a lost world of 417 ancient Mayan cities buried in a remote jungle, connected by miles of ‘highways’, reports WaPo


A view of a Mayan temple at the archaeological site of El Mirador in the jungle of Peten, Guatemala, August 24, 2009.Reuters/Daniel Leclair

  • Guatemalan scientists have discovered “the world’s first freeway system”, reports the Washington Post.

  • Archaeologists have found that the ancient Maya built 417 cities interconnected by 110 miles of “highways”.

  • Historians need to rethink what they know about the ancient Maya civilization.

Guatemalan scientists have discovered “the world’s first freeway system”, reports the Washington Post.

In an interview with the Post, researchers from a joint US-Guatemalan archaeological study published in Cambridge University Press in December said they had discovered 417 towns dating back around 3,000 years, interconnected by 110 miles of “highways”.

This discovery forces historians to rethink what they know about the ancient Maya civilization. The discovery of a network of roads and towns, water systems and agricultural infrastructure suggests that communities living in Central America were now more advanced than expected, reports the Post.

According to the article, these results reflect “socio-economic organization and political power”.

The Lost World dates back to 1000 BC in the pre-classic era of the Maya, who were previously considered a nomadic hunter-gatherer society.

This find in the jungle region of El Mirador in southern Guatemala is “a game-changer,” Richard Hansen, the study’s lead author and affiliate research professor of archeology at Idaho State, told The Post. University.

The find is in a remote tropical jungle on the border between Mexico and Guatemala. It’s only accessible by helicopter for a challenging 40-mile hike through dense rainforest, filled with jaguars and snakes, the Post said.

We now know that the Preclassic period was a period of extraordinary architectural complexity and sophistication, with some of the greatest buildings in world history having been constructed during this time,” Hansen said.

The findings uncovered “a whole volume of human history that we’ve never known,” he told the Post.

The team, made up of scientists from the United States and Guatemala, has been mapping regions of Central America since 2015 and has used lidar technology – a key archaeological laser mapping technique – to reveal the finer details, such as the old vegetation.

This allowed scientists to see ancient dams, reservoirs, pyramids, platforms, causeway networks and even ball fields, according to the study.

Archaeologist from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City and co-author of the article, Enrique Hernández, told the Post that after additional work on this project, he could have as much influence on a historic discovery. than the Egyptian pyramids.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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