Laser Vision Reveals Maya City

Scientists mapping the ruins of the abandoned Maya city of Caracol in Belize knew they had tackled a big job, uncovering the city from the encroaching jungle. They didn’t know how big it really is until modern mapping techniques took a look underneath the forest canopy.

An April 2009 flyover of the Maya city of Caracol used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) equipment—which bounces laser beams off the ground—to help scientists construct a 3-D map of the settlement in western Belize…

The survey revealed previously unknown buildings, roads, and other features in just four days, scientists announced earlier this month at the International Symposium on Archaeometry in Tampa, Florida.

How much bigger is it?

…the project also revealed thousands of new structures, 11 new roads, tens of thousands of agricultural terraces, and even a number of hidden caves throughout a city, which is now known to stretch over 68 square miles (177 square kilometers).

Caracol was burned around A.D. 895, and was completely abandoned by the year 1050. Link