Mayas, creators of the first super highways network

By Valeria Bigurra Peñavera

Roads of more than 240 kilometers long were discovered

El Mirador is a late Mayan preclassic city, located in Guatemala, in the heart of the Petén jungle, and it was recently revealed that it was there that the first network of super highways in the world was made.

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In the framework of the "Cuenca Mirador" archaeological project, in which more than 700 square kilometers have been analyzed, this conclusion was presented, in addition Richard Hansen, director of this program explained that this study is unique in Mesoamerica.

In total, it is estimated that El Mirador, also known as the Kan Kingdom, covers an area of ​​2,158 square kilometers within the Maya Biosphere Reserve and is also one of the most important environmental lungs in America.

With the research, it has been discovered that Guatemala has the privilege of being the cradle of the Mayan civilization, and has the highest pyramids, in addition to the aforementioned unique road.

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Within the analyzed area, cities, pyramids, terraces, canals, walls and the network of 17 roads measuring more than 240 kilometers long by 40 meters wide – which were used for freight transport - have been observed.

The project was carried out with a high-precision radar called LIDAR, which scans the terrain with a laser that can penetrate the vegetation at a rate of 560,000 points per second, and has allowed the identification of unique archaeological features of 2D images and 3D.

According to Hansen, this was the first state in all of the Americas, and in its time could have been the largest in the world, both in size and population, as it is estimated that at least 1 million people lived there before it collapsed In the year 150 BC.

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Tikal is currently the largest excavation site in America and contains some of the most incredible archaeological remains of the ancient Mayan civilization. It is also Guatemala's most famous natural and cultural reserve, declared a national park in 1955 and a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1979, however El Mirador, has bigger cities than Tikal, only that they are still unknown.

The research will continue with the aim of discovering more data on this fascinating civilization within this imposing city, and for that, Hansen urges the governments of Guatemala and Mexico - as far as El Mirador extends - to support protecting the area and boosting sustainable tourism.

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