The large-scale scanning of the territory from an aircraft with the help of the LiDAR laser technology allowed for locating thousands of hidden objects of the ancient Mayan city of the Peten region (Guatemala) and made it clear that the population of this city was simply huge in the scale of the ancient world.
Unlike many other centers and monuments destroyed by different factors, the city, or more precisely, the ancient metropolis El Mirador was abandoned long ago. It remained unknown until 1926, but preserved under the thickets of lianas quite well.
El Mirador is the largest metropolis of the Mayan culture of the pre-classical period. Its ruins are located in the region of Péten in the north of Guatemala, near the Guatemalan-Mexican border.
In total, it was possible to identify 60 thousand houses of the Maya, defensive fortifications and shafts, including the four main ceremonial centers of the Maya with squares and pyramids. The data indicates that up to a million inhabitants could have lived in El Mirador.
Large defensive walls, ditches, rampart systems, and irrigation canals confirm that there was a highly organized labor force in Maya. The scientists used a special cartographic technique that processes the signal of the laser reflected from the ground to reveal contours hidden under thick foliage.
The results obtained indicate that the Mayan civilization at the peak of its development can be equated to such complex cultures as Ancient Greece or China. In addition to hundreds of objects, the scan showed a number of trestles. Complex irrigation and terrestrial farming systems were able to feed a huge number of workers. The trestles held up well even during the rainy season and were used, apparently, as trade routes and for other types of interactions between cities.
The Maya did not use the wheel and drag force, but, according to the archaeologist of the Tulane University Marcello Canuto, involved in the project, it was a civilization that literally drove the mountains.
In general, the El Mirador layout consists of three pyramidal complexes (El Tigre, Los Monos, and La Danta), located at the vertices of the rectangular triangle, and the Central Acropolis.
The Pyramid of El Tigre is one of the most magnificent pyramids of the Maya. It exceeds the size of the pyramids of Tikal, Palenqu, and Chechen-Itza. This 18-story pyramid reaches 60 meters in height.
In addition, the city has the monument of the three pyramids of La Dante, the largest pyramid in the world, even higher than the pyramids of Egypt. Its height is 72 meters, more than the Pyramid of the Big Jaguar in Tikal, which is 47 meters.
A peculiarity of the pyramids in El Mirador is the triadic style with huge pyramidal platforms with three different constructions in the upper part. Archaeologists suggested that this style was dictated by the idea of three of the most important stars of the Orion constellation, which form a kind of triangle.
El Mirador, the largest city in the whole of Pétain was the capital of the kingdom also known as the Kingdom of Kan. The word "kan" means "snake", for example, in the word "Kukulkan", and in El Mirador the "Serpent dynasty" has ruled for a long time. The Kan civilization was a contemporary of the Olmec culture and is still considered to be the matrix culture of Mesoamerica. There is convincing evidence that the Maya from El Mirador developed mathematical, agricultural, astronomical and writing systems - knowledge that made them one of the most developed and sophisticated cities, several thousand years earlier than what was thought and accepted until very recently.
“There's even an aircraft sensor system that sends down hundreds of thousands of pulses of light measured at different return rates. It allows you to literally strip away vegetation and see entire cities beneath the rain forest canopy. This is the unbelievable future of archaeology.” Sarah Parcak