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Laser Mapping Reveals Forgotten Maya City

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A LiDAR image of Ocumtun.

Archaeologists subsequently surveyed the site, which they've named Ocomtun, and found 50-foot-tall (15.2-meter-tall) structures resembling pyramids, as well as pottery and engravings that they believe date back to between 600 and 900 AD.

Credit: University of Houston

Laser-mapping technology uncovered a long-lost Mayan city in the jungles of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

In March, the University of Houston's Juan Carlos Fernandez-Diaz used an airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system to spot the lost city of Ocomtun across three four-hour flights.

An airplane or drone-mounted LiDAR sensor tracks how long it takes each laser pulse to return, resulting in a three-dimensional map of the environment below.

Fernandez-Diaz has pioneered the archaeological use of LiDAR, mapping more than 20,000 square kilometers (7,722 square miles) of Central American jungle and participating in 45 digs.

The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts' Ivan Šprajc, who led the Ocomtun survey, said LiDAR allows archaeologists to see through the thick jungle canopy.

From CNN
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