Online Map Leads Archaeologist to Maya Discovery

Lidar has transformed the study of ancient civilizations, but maps made with the technology are expensive. Takeshi Inomata found a great one for free.

Comments: 15

  1. cool!

  2. I bet LIDAR can help us find other "lost" civilizations and peoples. It offers new opportunities to learn more about those who came before us.

  3. Lidar is obviously crucial technology, so why isn't it free for the sake of scientific knowledge?

  4. The power of publicly funded science

  5. fascinating! Thanks for this article.

  6. Remarkable work!

  7. Drone based LIDAR will be the next really big tool in archaeology.

  8. @Getagrip It already is but is limited to relatively small areas compared to scans from large aircraft.

  9. I wish they somehow could have kept this quiet. I am sure the looting has begun.

  10. I've visited several Classic Maya sites in Mexico and Guatemala, and I recommend them to all travelers. These lidar scans will add immensely to our understanding of that brilliant civilization. I'd like to see more articles about the archaeological application of lidar, not just in Mexico but elsewhere around the world.

  11. In an anthropology class at Carnegie-Mellon in the late 1960s, the professor asked us to imagine the room we were in as a far-in-the-future archeological site. Large slabs of slate (the blackboards) would be the few largely un-decayed elements at the site. Our consensus: the place must have been a pool hall. Hunh! That class was a lesson in subjectivity. This article takes the field of surveying to a new level. Thanks!

  12. The cost of lidar itself is actually not particularly expensive. Over the past 10 years, hardware and software have improved by leaps and bounds and costs have dropped considerably. As for deployment and flying - those expenses aren't going down anytime soon. Planes, helicopters, and drones (substantial enough to carry lidar setups) are pricey.

  13. Fascinating research and great photos and information.

  14. Free is Good.

  15. Imagine what future generations will discover, long after we're gone. "Man, that civilization really liked cul-de-sacs!"