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Maya, a 3,000-year-old "highway" discovered in the middle of the forest

A literally unbelievable discovery comes from South America, and specifically from the territories that once belonged to the Mayas, one of the three great pre-Columbian civilisations along with the Incas (Peru) and Aztecs (Mexico). In the territory between present-day Guatemala and Mexico, in fact, a huge network of highways has been discovered.

The complex of roads and bridges dates back as far as 3000 years, and the team of scientists who made the discovery compared it in importance to the discovery of the Egyptian pyramids. It is estimated that the 'highway' continues for hundreds of kilometres and intersects some 417 ancient Maya settlements.

For this discovery, a new technology called lidar was used, an advanced type of radar that reveals presences hidden by dense vegetation, resulting in 3D reconstructive images.

Di Daniel Schwen - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7647
Maya, discovered a 3,000-year-old "highway" in the middle of the forest
A literally unbelievable discovery comes from South America, and specifically from the territories that once belonged to the Mayas, one of the three great pre-Columbian civilisations along with the Incas (Peru) and Aztecs (Mexico). In the territory between today's Guatemala and Mexico, in fact, an enormous network of highways has been discovered.
Pexels
The study
The news was reported in the pages of the Washington Post, and resumes a study begun in 2015 conducted by the team of archaeologists led by Richard Hansen, research professor at the University of Idaho and president of the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies, a non-profit scientific organisation specialising in Mayan history. This joint US-Guatemalan archaeological research was published by Cambridge University Press.
Pexels
A complex that dates back as far as 3,000 years
The whole installation would date, according to the researchers' estimates, to around the year 1000, thus well over 3000 years ago. The researchers speak of the discovery, in the course of studying this 'highway', of the site of Balamnal, one of the fundamental centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation. It dates back 1000 or perhaps even 2000 years before the most famous and well-excavated Maya site known, namely Chichen Itza on the Mexican Yucatán peninsula, which was built in the early 400s AD.
Pexels
What scientists have discovered
In the course of research, dam systems with connections to reservoirs, pyramid-shaped monuments, agricultural infrastructure and even playgrounds were identified. But above all, a network of road links spanning hundreds of kilometres, linking as many as 417 ancient settlements and complexes articulated like real small cities. 110 miles (almost 178 kilometres) of 'superhighways', which researchers have called 'the world's first highway system'.
Pexels
A new technology used for research
The scientists used lidar technology, an advanced type of radar that reveals presences hidden by dense vegetation, obtaining reconstructive images in 3D. No actual excavation was carried out, but 'bionic eyes' were used.
Di User:PhilippN, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3000471
The Maya were much more advanced than previously thought
Researchers, after this discovery, may be forced to rethink much of the known history of the Maya. This will have to be done not only by anticipating the time axis, but also by reconsidering the socio-economic-political analysis of this culture, which is much more advanced than the hitherto advanced idea of a nomadic society of hunters and gatherers.
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