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Research: Laser mapping shows that there are nearly 500 ancient places of worship in Mexico-Scientific Exploration-cnBeta.COM

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A landmark research report stated thatScientists have discovered nearly 500 ancient ruins in Mexico using airborne laser mapping.These newly discovered sites are believed to date back at least 2500 years ago, between the Olmec and Mayan civilizations.

Last year, an international research team published a groundbreaking study reporting the discovery of a huge Mayan structure. The nearly one-mile-long rectangular platform was named Aguada Fénix, and the researchers dated the structure between 1000 and 800 BC, making it the oldest Mayan ritual site discovered so far. The location was discovered using airborne lidar, a laser mapping technique. After discovering this unusual structure, the researchers wanted to know how common these sites are, but detailed lidar surveys are expensive and time-consuming.

Therefore, the research team looked at the publicly available lidar data collected by the Mexican government. These data are usually too low resolution for archaeological research, but researchers are looking for special patterns that have not been discovered before. Combining these data with field trips and more targeted high-resolution lidar work, researchers now report the discovery of 478 previously unknown ancient sites in the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz.

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新研究的第一作者Takeshi Inomata解释说:“直到几年前,要研究这么大的区域是不可想象的。公共可用的激光雷达正在改变考古学。”

新发现的遗址横跨一个巨大的区域,将西玛雅低地的Aguada Fénix与东部一个被称为圣洛伦索的更古老的遗址联系起来,该遗址被认为是至少可以追溯到公元前1200年的奥尔梅克文明的中心。该研究还报告说,在圣洛伦索发现了一个更大的矩形平台,表明更古老的奥尔梅克文明和更近的玛雅文明之间有令人信服的联系,后者在公元250年至950年间达到顶峰。

“人们总是认为圣洛伦索是非常独特的,与后来的遗址安排不同,”Inomata说。”但现在我们表明,圣洛伦索与Aguada Fénix非常相似–它有一个长方形的广场,两边是边缘平台。这些特征在激光雷达中变得非常清晰,而且在Aguada Fénix也发现了这些特征,后者建得稍晚一些。这告诉我们,圣洛伦索对于这些后来被玛雅人使用的一些想法的开始是非常重要的。

Inomata和他的同事推测这些大型矩形平台被用作仪式空间,允许人们为仪式目的而聚集在一起。许多遗址似乎都是在某些日期面向日出的。

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一些遗址还被发现有10个较小的平台,分别位于两侧。这20个侧面的平台与中美洲数字系统中的数字20的意义相吻合。作为新发表的研究的一部分,研究人员报告了对92个激光雷达追踪的遗址的访问。这有助于验证这些发现,并指出了公元前1000年至400年之间的日期。

在许多方面,这些发现只是一个起点,可能会有几十年的实地工作,调查和挖掘这些新发现的遗址。Inomata说,这些遗址围绕着奥尔梅克和玛雅文明之间的联系提出了一大堆新问题。

“仍然有很多未解答的问题,” Inomata说。“继续挖掘这些遗址以找到这些答案将需要更长的时间,并将涉及许多其他学者。”

这项新研究发表在《自然-人类行为》杂志上。

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