by Daelyn Fortney
Categories: People.
Photo: Caracol Archaeological Project

NASA Scientists and researchers from the University of Central Florida have discovered an ancient Mayan city designed around a system of green urban architecture. The discovery came from a 2009 research project utilizing LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment aboard a Cessna 337 as it flew over the dense jungles of Belize.

Laser beams from the equipment were able to penetrate the jungle’s tree canopy and produce “images of the ancient settlement and environmental modifications made by the inhabitants of the Maya city of Caracol” including “thousands of new structures, 11 new causeways, tens of thousands of agricultural terraces and many hidden caves.”

“The ancient Maya designed and maintained sustainable cities long before ‘building green’ became a modern term,” said Diane Chase, a UCF anthropology professor who has worked as co-director of the Caracol Archaeological Project beside her husband, Arlen Chase—also a UCF anthropology professor – for the past 25 years.

“It’s very exciting,” said Arlen Chase. “The images not only reveal topography and built features, but also demonstrate the integration of residential groups, monumental architecture, roadways and agricultural terraces, vividly illustrating a complete communication, transportation and subsistence system.”

The Chase’s and their Caracol Archaeological Project expect to discover more information about the Mayan society as additional data is analyzed.

Via: UCF Newsroom