Science & Tech

Scientists discover 'impossible' ancient Mayan city in remote jungle

Scientists discover 'impossible' ancient Mayan city in remote jungle
Ancient Mayan road network discovered beneath Guatemala jungle

It feels like every day there’s a science story that comes along ready to blow our tiny minds, and today is no exception.

A series of ancient interconnected cities have been discovered in the remote El Mirador jungle Guatemala, and it’s changing our entire understanding of the ancient civilisation.

More than 400 settlements have been uncovered with some dating back as far as 1,000 BC.

They’re linked by roads too, and it’s led them to be described as “the first freeway system in the world”.

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Richard Hansen, a research professor at the University of Idaho, is an expert on the project and he’d called the findings a “game-changer”.

It was previously thought that the Mayan peoples were nomadic, but these cities have changed the scientific community’s understanding.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Hansen said: "We now know that the Preclassic period was one of extraordinary complexity and architectural sophistication, with some of the largest buildings in world history being constructed during this time.”

On top of the 110 miles of interconnected roads, the discoveries also showed evidence of organised agriculture and even hydraulic systems.


The findings are the result of work which first began in 2015, which saw lidar technology uncovered signs of ancient structures below the surface.

Archaeologist Enrique Hernández, from San Carlos University said about the findings: “Now there are more than 900 [settlements]… We [couldn’t] see that before. It was impossible,” he said.

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