Ancient Mayan cities uncovered with laser technology in Mesoamerica

Mesoamerica is a possible location for the Book of Mormon.   (Reminder:  the Book of Mormon does not say where in the Americas it takes place, and faith in the Book of Mormon should not depend on one physical location or another).  But, interestingly, scientists using laser technology have discovered massive networks of Mayan cities.

Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough.

Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications.

The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested.

The researchers mapped over 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) in northern Peten.

Archaeologists believe the cutting-edge technology will change the way the world will see the Maya civilisation.

“I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology,” said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University.

Read the story and come to your own conclusions.


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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

5 thoughts on “Ancient Mayan cities uncovered with laser technology in Mesoamerica

  1. Here are some interesting comments from BYU Prof. Daniel Peterson:

    “Some interesting items of possible relevance to Book of Mormon issues:

    “highways connecting urban centers and quarries”

    “Virtually all the Mayan cities were connected by causeways wide enough to suggest that they were heavily trafficked and used for trade and other forms of regional interaction. These highways were elevated to allow easy passage even during rainy seasons.”

    “And there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place.” (3 Nephi 6:8)


    “the ubiquity of defensive walls, ramparts, terraces, and fortresses. ‘Warfare wasn’t only happening toward the end of the civilization,’ said Garrison. ‘It was large-scale and systematic, and it endured over many years.’”

    “And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war.” (Mormon 8:7-8; ca. AD 400-421)

    “10 to 15 million people”

    “At its peak in the Maya classic period (approximately A.D. 250–900), the civilization covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, but it was far more densely populated.”

    “The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.” (Mormon 1:7; ca. AD 321-326)

    “After decades of combing through the forests, no archaeologists had stumbled across these sites.”

    “And now, they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander.” (Mosiah 7:4)

    “And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days” (Mosiah 8:8)


  2. I read the article that was published in the National Geographic just before reading Mormon 8. Critics have scoffed and apologists have speculated about the large numbers of deaths cited by Mormon. It had puzzled me that highways were ‘cast up’ but the description makes sense in the light of these findings.

  3. I love stories like this. They demonstrate how little we really *know* about anything, and allow us to expand ourselves coming to know one more tiny little thing. Almost like learning never stops. Almost like … there’s a plan.

  4. I find it interesting that in my readings of the Book of Mormon I can’t recall reading some of the scriptural references that Professor Peterson listed specific to Book of Mormon landscape and infrastructure details. Then his editorial comments about the associations with what apparently is known about Mayan culture has given me another perspective from which to also focus in my readings going forward.

    It also reminds me of prophetic statements from our leaders in response to our critics, that as we wait upon the Lord, things that might appear contradictory with what is currently known about a topic, whether that be genetic links or population densities, will in time be made clear. Thank you advanced laser technology, and thanks to those who bring this to our attention.

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