Researchers have discovered a previously unknown lost city in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta—an isolated and difficult-to-access mountain range near the country’s Caribbean coast where the legend of El Dorado was born.
The ancient settlement—which was likely founded around 800 A.D. and abandoned during the Spanish Conquest—lies atop a steep ridge at an elevation of around 5,000 feet, hidden by dense forest.
National Geographic explorer Albert Lin and archaeologist Santiago Giraldo—who has been conducting research in the region for 20 years—uncovered the ancient city using a revolutionary imaging technology known as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which essentially lets you “see through” vegetation.
The technology makes use of instruments fitted onto aircraft that fire pulses of laser light towards the ground hundreds of thousands of times per second, enabling the creation of detailed 3D maps that reveal the topography of the land and any ancient man-made features that are not normally visible from above.
Super cool. As always, thank you for these great science links.
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