3D Modeling Culture Laser Scanning Surveying

Lost Mysterious Civilization Found with Lidar

Photo of Mysterious Civilization Found with Lidar
Mysterious Civilization Found with Lidar

The Tairona was a mysterious civilization whose empire once extended across parts of the Caribbean coast and up into the Sierra Nevada region of South America. But up until now, very little was known of them.

From an article in Wealth Daily by Jason Williams.

The Spanish have records of their gold jewelry, and the history of the settlement of South America says they were fierce warriors who resisted the Spanish for a long time despite the invaders’ better weapons.

But as Spanish influence in the region grew, the Tairona were forced to flee higher into the mountains and abandon their settlements and cities.

Some of the Tairona culture still survives today, but much of what is known about them is from stories passed down through the oral tradition.

That’s all changing right now, though, thanks to a technological discovery helping researchers “see through” the jungle canopy to the lost and forgotten man-made structures below.

And thanks to this technology, archaeologists have uncovered eight sites where previously unknown ancient cities could be located. Two have been explored and two previously unknown cities have been found.

And the archaeologists in charge think this is just the beginning thanks to this new form of technology.

A Million Little Pieces Lasers

The technology I’m talking about is called LiDAR. That’s short for Light Detection and Ranging. And it essentially lets you see through things. In this case, it was the dense jungle vegetation keeping these cities hidden for so many centuries.

LiDAR fires hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of laser pulses toward the ground every second. It does this from instruments fitted to the bottom of drones or helicopters (sometimes even airplanes).

The millions of data points generated by these hundreds of thousands of laser points each second paints a detailed 3D map of the topography beneath the jungle canopy. And it also picks out man-made structures that were previously hidden beneath the vegetation.

The researchers near Santa Marta fitted three LiDAR units to the bottom of a helicopter and pointed them in different directions in the hopes that together they would be able to get the lasers through the thick foliage.

And they found a city that’s been completely unknown practically since it was abandoned during the Spanish conquest of Colombia in the 17th century.

For the complete article on lost mysterious civilization CLICK HERE.

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