The Maya unveiled: how modern technology is rewriting history

Drone technology and LiDAR prove key tools in modern archaeology, revealing ancient Mayan treasures hidden beneath the jungles of Guatemala and redefining our understanding of past civilizations with discoveries that change the course of history

In a world that seems thoroughly explored, hidden treasures still await discovery beneath layers of earth and vegetation, holding secrets of ancient civilizations that have remained invisible until now. However, with advancements in technology, we are beginning to unveil these centuries-old mysteries.

Unveiling the Past: The Role of Drones in Archaeological Discoveries

Drones, equipped with cutting-edge tools, are emerging as the new explorers, leading us into an era of discoveries that promise to reveal the wonders of the past hidden right beneath our feet. A standout project led by Kyle Miller and his team in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle exemplifies this phenomenon.

In this instance, drone technology has unearthed secrets of the Maya civilization that had been jealously guarded by nature until now. Using professional DJI drones, researchers have meticulously mapped the area surrounding a Maya pyramid, uncovering ruins with unprecedented precision. The LiDAR L2 technology, in particular, has played a pivotal role, penetrating the vegetation to produce clear images of long-buried structures.

The LiDAR L2 technology marks a significant advancement in aerial detection and mapping, representing a qualitative leap over its predecessor, the LiDAR L1. Designed for drone integration, this system uses laser light to measure distances from the Earth, generating precise three-dimensional data on the surface features of the terrain. Its high data acquisition speed allows for covering vast areas in significantly reduced times compared to traditional detection methods.

LiDAR L2 stands out for several advanced technical features, including the ability to detect minute details thanks to smaller, denser laser points, a 30% increased detection range over the previous model, and the capacity to support up to five returns of the laser signal, capturing more points on the ground in high-density vegetation areas.

A New Chapter in Maya History Unveiled by Drones

Recently, LiDAR technology has revealed over 61,000 hidden Maya structures beneath the jungle in Petén, Guatemala, unveiling a civilization far more extensive and complex than previously thought. This discovery has led to a reevaluation of Maya population estimates, suggesting it could support millions of people through advanced adaptation to the tropical climate, with systems of raised roads, water reservoirs, irrigation, and terracing.

These findings have transformed our understanding of Maya urban and architectural organization, bringing to light roads and buildings buried for millennia by dense vegetation. These discoveries not only enrich historical knowledge about the Maya but also push the boundaries of what was believed possible in terms of the development and extent of this enigmatic culture.

The success of this and similar projects highlights the crucial integration of a passion for history with the latest technological innovations in contemporary archaeology. This synergy between technique and historical narrative opens new perspectives, making the adventure of archaeological discovery not only more effective but also more engaging and accessible to everyone.

Fonte: DJI Academy

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