Archaeologists discover a lost world of 417 ancient cities

In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists in Guatemala have revealed the existence of what is being hailed as “the first freeway system in the world.” Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an intricate network of interconnected cities built by the ancient Mayans, spanning approximately 110 miles. This significant finding is prompting historians to reevaluate their understanding of Mayan civilization and recognize the advanced socio-economic and political organization of these ancient communities.

Unveiling an Advanced Ancient Civilization:
A joint US-Guatemalan archaeological study, published in the Cambridge University Press, unveiled the remarkable discovery of 417 cities dating back nearly 3,000 years. These cities were interconnected by a network of “superhighways” stretching over 110 miles. The findings challenge previous notions of Mayan society, which had been considered nomadic hunter-gatherers. The presence of the intricate road system, hydraulic structures, and advanced agricultural infrastructure indicates a higher level of advancement within Central American societies than previously acknowledged.

Reevaluating Preclassic Mayan Epoch:
The newfound cities and roadways, located in the El Mirador jungle region in southern Guatemala, have brought to light a previously unexplored chapter in Mayan history. The discoveries from this remote tropical jungle on the Mexico-Guatemala border were only accessible by helicopter and a challenging 40-mile hike through dense rainforest, teeming with wildlife. Lead author of the study, Richard Hansen, describes the find as a “game changer,” emphasizing the extraordinary complexity and architectural sophistication of the Preclassic Mayan epoch.

Revolutionizing Historical Understanding:
According to Hansen, the discovery sheds light on an extensive volume of human history previously unknown to researchers. The team of scientists, consisting of experts from the US and Guatemala, has been mapping Central American regions since 2015. Utilizing lidar technology, a laser mapping technique, they uncovered intricate details such as ancient vegetation, dams, reservoirs, pyramids, platforms, causeway networks, and ball courts. The magnitude of this finding holds the potential to rival the historical significance of the Egyptian pyramids, as stated by co-author Enrique Hernández, an archaeologist at San Carlos University in Guatemala City.

Revealing a Sophisticated Mayan Society:
The newly unearthed Mayan freeway system and the interconnected cities highlight the advanced socio-economic organization and political power of the ancient civilization. Historians are now faced with reevaluating their understanding of Mayan society, recognizing the significant architectural achievements and complexity of the Preclassic period. This discovery not only challenges previous assumptions but also adds a new chapter to the rich tapestry of human history, emphasizing the ingenuity and sophistication of the Mayan people.

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