Archaeologist discovers ancient ritual sites in Mexico with online map

Archaeologist discovers 27 ancient Mayan ceremonial sites in Mexico that date back 3,000 years by using a free online map

  • Takeshi Inomata used an online Light Detection and Ranging map (LiDAR) 
  • It covered 4,400 square miles of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas
  • He was able to identify a series of outlines that marked out archaeological sites

An archaeologist has discovered 27 ancient Mayan ceremonial sites in Mexico just by using an online map.

Takeshi Inomata stumbled across a Light Detection and Ranging map (LiDAR) online last year that was free to use.

The remote LiDAR system uses light pulses to calculate the distance from the Earth’s surface to generate accurate 3D information.

Takeshi Inomata used a Light Detection and Ranging map (LiDAR) he found online to track down the sites that were otherwise difficult to find by ground-based surveys. Pictured: The map of one of the 27 sites he discovered dubbed Buenavista

This makes it easier to track down sites that would otherwise be difficult to find in ground-based surveys.

He scoured the laser map that covered 4,400 square miles of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

Despite being low resolution he was able to identify a series of outlines that marked out archaeological sites which he identified as ceremonial grounds.

He scoured the laser map that covered 4,400 square miles of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas. Ceremonial sites were found throughout the Mayan city of Moral Reforma (pictured)

Despite being low resolution he was able to identify a series of outlines that marked out archaeological sites which he identified as ceremonial grounds. Pictured: The site called La Carmelita

‘It was great to see that there [are] more sites of this type than we expected. 

‘It is also remarkable that they had very standardized rectangular formations,’ Mr Inomata said when speaking to Fox News.

He added: ‘The presence of these formal ceremonial complex in this early period indicates that certain rituals and religious ideas spread over a wide area as people accepted new ways of life.’ 

An aerial view of the La Carmelita site discovered by Mr Inomata as part of the discovery that he hopes will broaden understanding of the ancient civilisation

The pyramid in the Maya city of Moral Reforma in the Mexican state of Tabasco where human activity at the site was at its peak about 1,400 years ago

His discovery of 27 sites has not yet been peer-reviewed but he hopes it will ultimately prove invaluable for studies of the ancient culture.

The professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona made his breakthrough shortly after he carried out research at the site of Ceibal in Guatemala, where he found a ceremonial complex dating back to 1000 to 900 BC. 

The map that Mr Inomata used was published in 2011 by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography.  

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