After a scientific overflight using laser technology, a large network of canals and crop fields of the ancient Maya that had been hidden for centuries under the Belize jungle were discovered.
A study published in the specialized journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), explains that the plane used for the investigation featured a the Lidar laser technology, which is able to launch 6 billion pulses of laser light to the ground and received about 11 billion pulses “bounced” back, which allowed scientists to make this historical discovery.
The researchers found out that one of the cultivated areas analyzed, known as “Birds of Paradise” (Pájaros del Paraíso) is much larger than previously thought and comprises a network of 71 kilometers of crisscrossed channels about three meters wide that allowed the ancient Maya to pass from some rivers to others, and even reach the Caribbean Sea.
The study maintains a previous hypothesis stating that the development of large agricultural areas during the period of expansion and splendor of the Maya could have caused significant environmental impact that led to the collapse of this advanced civilization.
It should be remembered that the Maya left their cities and the reasons for the end of their civilization as such, have not yet been clarified by scientists, historians and specialists.
There is a study that indicates that deforestation and agricultural activity could have caused an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane from the burning, preparation and maintenance of these field systems, and that could have contributed to the end of the Maya civilization (that’s just one hypothesis though).
The Yucatan Times Newsroom with information from PNAS