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3D-mapping reveals 100 buried Maya buildings

Special three-dimensional mapping has removed hundreds of years worth of jungle growth from nearly 100 Maya buildings in the ancient city of Holtun (Head of Stone).

Though it’s long been known to locals that something—something big—is buried in this patch of Guatemalan rain forest, it’s only now that archaeologists are able to begin teasing out what exactly Head of Stone was.

Using GPS and electronic distance-measurement technology last year, the researchers plotted the locations and elevations of a seven-story-tall pyramid, an astronomical observatory, a ritual ball court, several stone residences, and other structures.

Some of the stone houses, said study leader Brigitte Kovacevich, may have doubled as burial chambers for the city’s early kings.

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Story: Ker Than, National Geographic News | Photo: Michael G. Callaghan

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