Skip to content

The Old Mayan City, And…

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, as the region is surrounded by mountains, volcanoes, seas, lakes and dense forests. Archaeologists recently discovered a 2,000-year-old city in an evergreen forest in Guatemala. The Mayan Civilisation was established in several places in Guatemala, near its borders with Mexico. Archaeologists used Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to discover this ancient Mayan city from the sky. LIDAR technology is basically a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

In addition to experts from different US universities, some researchers from France and Guatemala have discovered this ancient city, which dates to the Middle and Late Pre-classic Period (roughly 1000 BC to 250 BC). According to archaeologists, the city was located on about 1,700sqkm area of an evergreen forest in the Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin near Guatemala-Mexico border.

Archaeologists have confirmed that this ancient city is a sign of Mayan Civilisation. The city had around 1,000 settlements 2,000 years ago, and each one was connected to the other by elevated creteways. The roads are still spread over about 160km of area within the city. Archaeologists are of the opinion that the roads were built throughout the city in such a way that people could reach any part of the city quite easily.

This ancient Mayan city also had a good water conservation system, as archaeologists have found its evidence from the ruins. Most of the areas of the city had separate places for the storage of water. There were many canals across the city. As the Mayan people used to face acute water crises due to dry weather, they built reservoirs to meet their needs.

Archaeologists have found ruins of pyramids in various places in this ancient Mayan city, apart from noticing several high places. However, they are yet to explain the purpose of such places, like the high platforms that were seen there.

Archaeologists have assumed that the inhabitants of this ancient city used to gather at a particular place to discuss political issues. They have even speculated that the entire city would gather at the place when an event of entertainment used to get organised. As archaeologists have noticed open spaces in front of some houses, they have come to the conclusion that people used those premises for some kind of sport.

Archaeologists have used the LIDAR technology to find the city, as lasers can easily penetrate the deep layers of the forest. Even if there is any debris beneath the ground, this technology can capture its clear images. In this case, the researchers sent laser beams on a specific area from an aircraft, and successfully captured images of every bend of roads and the ruins of houses. The LIDAR data showed “for the first time an area that was integrated politically and economically, and never seen before in other places in the Western Hemisphere,” said study co-author Carlos Morales-Aguilar, a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. He stressed: “We can now see the entire landscape of the Maya region” in this region of Guatemala.

For his part, study co-author Ross Ensley stated: “For the Maya, the Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin was the ‘Goldilocks Zone‘.” Ensley, a Geologist with the Institute for Geological Study of the Maya Lowlands in Houston, added: “The Maya settled in this region because it had the right mix of uplands for settlement and lowlands for agriculture. The uplands provided a source for limestone, their primary building material, and dry land to live on. The lowlands are mostly seasonal swamps, or bajos, which provided space for wetland agriculture, as well as organic-rich soil for use in terraced agriculture.

Usually, the inhabitants of the Mayan Civilisation preferred to live in a scattered manner. However, the behaviour of the inhabitants of this particular city was different, as they used to build dense settlements at one place. Archaeologists believe that the discovery of this ancient city will certainly shed new light on the politics, social conditions, and settlement structure of the Mayan Civilisation.

Boundless Ocean of Politics on Facebook:

Boundless Ocean of Politics on Twitter:

Boundless Ocean of Politics on Linkedin:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: