LiDAR Survey Reveals Two Ancient Cities in Honduras
Analysis of the data accrued through the first-ever airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging survey of previously-uncharted areas of the Mosquitia jungle has resulted in significant new archaeological and topographical discoveries.
The 11-person scientific team consists of archaeologists, geographers, anthropologists, geologists, geodesists and LiDAR geographical information systems specialists. The project was undertaken by UTL Scientific and the Honduran government in April and May 2012. The survey expedition is the subject of a May 6 New Yorker magazine article by best-selling author and journalist Douglas Preston.
UTL principals Bill Benenson, a documentary filmmaker who underwrote the costs of the expedition, project leader Steve Elkins, and executive producer Garry Spire are planning a documentary film on the project.
Based on the survey's findings, the government of Honduras created the Mosquitia Patrimonial Heritage Preserve to protect the discoveries. In March, at a special ceremony in Honduras with President Porfirio Lobo, his Cabinet and several members of the UTL team, it was announced that a ground expedition to the area is being planned for late this year or early next year.
The Mosquitia region is known for its arduous terrain, dense jungle and the legend of the lost city of Ciudad Blanca. The LiDAR data will be helping to unveil what really lies underneath the jungle canopy.