Lost Treasures of the Maya

Nat Geo | Channel 4

Lost Treasures of the Maya / Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings unlocks the secrets of the ancient Maya World, unmasking some of the longest held assumptions about this ancient civilisation.

In the jungle wilderness of Xmakabatun in northern Guatemala, ScanLAB Projects (in collaboration with the Pakanum LIDAR Initiative and the Qualcomm Institute of San Diego) employed the latest laser scanning technology and LIDAR analysis to unmask the hidden extent of the Mayan world. The findings of this enormous survey are revealed in this groundbreaking documentary made in collaboration with Wild Blue Media.

ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
Archeologists and researchers at the Qualcomm Institute observing the LIDAR scan data for the first time
ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
3D data reconstruction of Holmul
ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
LIDAR scan data of Tikal

The programmes' revelations permanently destabilised the archeological research of the area. Entire new cities have been discovered with their temples and palaces laying under the thick blanket of trees. By digitally stripping back vegetation even well explored Mayan sites such as Tikal have been revealed to be far more extensive than previously thought. These extended settlements together with a host of previously undiscovered cities are now outlining an intricate and efficient web of civilisation leading us to reconsider the whole urbanology of the Maya World. Further discoveries show whole sections of jungle circumscribed by a meticulous self-sustaining defensive fortress, highlighting the brutality and bloodthirsty reputation of the Maya.

The LIDAR datasets transform our understanding of the extent of the Mayan world. Areas thought to be populated by 1 to 2 million people are now estimated to have been home to a population of over 20 million.

The LIDAR survey and its revelations will allow archaeologists to investigate and uncover Mayan mysteries for generations to come.

ScanLAB ProjectsScanLAB Projects
Witzna Pyramid hidden in the jungle
3D data reconstruction of Witzna Pyramid after the LIDAR survey
ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
Aerial map reconstruction of Guatemala and surrounding countries
ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
Ground LIDAR scan of Tikal
ScanLAB Projects | Lost Treasures of the Maya | Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings
3D data reconstruction of El Diablo