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Ancient Mayan city that was 'impossible to find' discovered in jungle

Ancient Mayan city that was 'impossible to find' discovered in jungle

The discovery was groundbreaking and will change the way that people think about ancient civilisations

The groundbreaking discovery of an ancient city belonging to the Mayans, that was seemingly 'impossible' to find, has the potential to change the way that people understand past civilisations and how they lived.

We all know the Mayans best for their (thankfully) wrong prediction of when the world was going to end - we all remember the 2012 panic - but they were also really good at building incredible structures.

The towering pyramids of stone were put up thousands of years ago, and still stand as symbols of a rich civilisation and ancient culture that involved millions of people, with mystery surrounding its collapse and a lot of the history around them.

We still don't know why the Mayans disappeared exactly, but it is thought that at some point between 850 AD and 1000 AD, the civilisation began to decline and eventually, collapse.

They weren't completely wiped out, with Mayan descendants still around today, but we know more about them now thanks to the recent discovery of one of their lost cities.

Archaeologists discovered the ancient city. (Idaho State University/Richard Hansen)
Archaeologists discovered the ancient city. (Idaho State University/Richard Hansen)

Nestled deep within the Guatemalan jungle of El Mirador is an ancient Mayan city, which, until now, had been pretty much 'impossible' to discover.

Actually, it's a series of about 400 interconnected settlements with some built as far back as 3,000 years ago, and there are roads between them linking them all together.

Archaeologists have discovered 417 settlements built by the Mayans and connected by about 110 miles worth of roads, which was been described as 'the first freeway system in the world'.

The authors of a study behind this amazing discovery told the Washington Post this ancient interconnected city was built in about 1,000 BC, and unlocks 'a whole volume of human history that we've never known before'.

Richard Hansen, professor of archaeology at Idaho State University, said the findings were a 'game changer', while archaeologist Enrique Hernández of San Carlos University, said the discovery could be as significant to our understanding of history as the pyramids in Egypt.

The ancient city was buried deep in the jungle. (Richard Hansen/FARES)
The ancient city was buried deep in the jungle. (Richard Hansen/FARES)

Hernández has spent months every year for the past 20 years excavating El Mirador and this new ancient city was only found after advancements in technology allowed researchers to more accurately sweep the jungle.

Lidar (light detection and ranging) technology is what allowed them to see the full scale of the ancient city, and realise that they were looking at incredibly sophisticated interconnected settlements, with an impressive road system keeping it all together.

Now they have a much clearer idea of what's there, researchers can make more accurate trips to the ancient city and learn so much more, though with 417 places to visit, they're going to have a lot of work to get through!

Featured Image Credit: Idaho State University/Richard Hansen / Richard Hansen/FARES

Topics: History, Weird, News

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