40+ Facts About Ancient Greece That Might Even Surprise a History Professor

With good reason, ancient Greece is regarded as one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Even the most ardent historians will be surprised by the wealth of super-cool facts, unexpected factoids, and astounding knowledge found in the ancient Greek civilization. We’ll look at some of these historical truths that might transport us to the splendor of ancient Greece.

They created the Yo-Yo

Even though the Greek language may be among the oldest in the world, ancient Greece also boasts some of the oldest technologies. The yo-yo is one of these inventions. One of the world’s oldest toys, the yo-yo is thought to have been created about 440 B.C.E.

A yo-yo, which was constructed out of wood, metal, or painted clay discs, was a common household item in ancient Greece. The Greek pantheon’s gods’ representations were used to embellish it.

One of the World’s Oldest Scripts

Greek holds the distinction of being among the world’s oldest languages. Beginning in the first decade of the eighth century BCE, the Greek alphabet was developed. Greek was the original language of many significant literature, including the Illiad poetry, works by Aristotle, and Plato.

According to legend, the Latin, Armenian, Coptic, and Cyrillic writing systems all originated from the Greek language. The Greek alphabet was also the first alphabetic system in human history to feature clearly distinguishable vowel letters.

One of their beloved gods was Dionysus.

One of the most well-known and revered gods in classical Greek mythology was Dionysus, often known as Bacchus. He and Demeter were regarded as the two most important deities on Earth.

Dionysus was lovingly referred to as the “God of Wine” and is said to have been born from the fire. He was also referred to as the deity of fertility, harvest, and grapes. In his honor, a number of sad and comedic plays were staged.

Tossing infants into a pit

According to a very well-known Spartan story, the baby males who were deemed weak were dumped in a pit. The ancient Greek historian Plutarch revealed this discovery.

However, according to present-day scientists, this practice never happened at all. This disproves Plutarch’s thesis that the state decides whether or not newborns are suitable to be raised and ignores their screams.

Concerning the Greek Gods

Zeus is regarded as the chief deity of the Greek pantheon in Greek mythology. However, this fact is only partially true. Let’s elaborate. Each of the sovereign republics in ancient Greece, known as polis, had its own distinct cult.

The notion of henotheism, which involves worshipping one deity from the pantheon of gods but not rejecting the existence of other gods, was practiced by the ancient Greeks, who fervently believed in the ‘n’ number of gods.

Greeks made a huge mistake

Many of the heroes and luminaries of ancient Greece committed terrible sins. Even the kindest heroes occasionally committed horrific crimes, and the pantheon of gods was not exempt from this rule. While gods like Jason, Athena, Zeus, Hades, and Uranus committed some very horrible crimes, mortals weren’t far behind.

For instance, during the Trojan War, following a disagreement, Achilles turned away from his allies. In addition to his four wives, Heracles is said to have had several lovers.

Unappealing food

The cuisine of the ancient Greeks (Laconian) was pretty disgusting. They frequently ate a black gruel, which was said to be a concoction of lentils and cattle blood.

This cuisine, if you can call it that, was frequently compared to Spartan bravery in numerous jokes among Spartans. It was rumored that only a true Spartan would have the guts to consume this every day. We endorse that!

Of Hetaeras

In general, women in ancient Greece were viewed as second-class citizens and held a lower status than males. But there were those women who could stand on their own two feet. They were hetaeras, these women.

Hetaeras were essentially high-profile prostitutes who also participated in mind-stimulating activities. They had fewer affluent lovers than Pornai, another class of escorts in ancient Greece. A lady had to attend a special school from the time she was a little child in order to become a heater.

Greeks Had a Distinctive Way of Eating

According to popular misconception, Greeks loved to recline while eating. This might not be entirely accurate, though. It started in the seventh century BC, and the Romans eventually adopted it.

Greeks supposedly ate in this manner because doing so represented social position and authority. However, the only people who could recline were guys. In general, women were not permitted at the feasts, and when they were permitted, it was customary for them to eat while seated.

Greeks Were Messy (Very)

The ancient Greeks did not adhere to the notion that cleanliness is next to godliness or that their homes should be Marie Kondo’d. They like keeping their surroundings as filthy as possible. The black smoke that always erupted when they prepared meat for their meals usually discolored the walls of their house.

The soot destroying the weapons hanging on the walls of a typical Greek home is described in Horner’s poem. In a word, black walls were typical in the typical home back then.

A Spartan child’s youth was marked by hardships

Spartans had a reputation for being quite (really!) severe with their kids. They had a somewhat dictatorial approach to parenting. When a Spartan youngster reached the age of seven, he was dispatched to a special military camp.

A Spartan youngster had to survive nude up to the age of twelve since clothing was not permitted. They were also required to prepare their own meals and be skilled in swordsmanship, spear throwing, and physical conditioning.

The Olympics were forbidden to women.

Women were not permitted to watch or take part in the Olympics in ancient Greece. Thus, the Olympics were mostly a masculine realm. Historians have proposed several potential explanations for this omission.

The inferior status of women in ancient Greek culture and the extensive preparation (up to ten months) needed to be ready for the Olympics are only a few of the possible justifications for the prohibition.

Spartans Banned Epicurean Meals

Epicurean cuisine was outlawed by the Spartans, and delicacies were strictly forbidden in Spartan homes. Keep in mind the lentils are laced with beef blood. That was typical. To put it kindly, a Spartan supper was a simple affair without much ceremony.

Lentil soup or gruel of barley with cabbage and turnips was a typical Spartan supper. According to Homer, Spartans enjoyed eating meals made of grains and frequently consumed barley together with wine and goat cheese.

Symposiums: The Hallways of Gaiety

Symposiums were another predominantly male setting in ancient Greece that included bacchanalian celebrations. These exclusively male dinners were filled with dancing, music, and other types of festivity.

A symposiarch, who served as the event’s in charge for the evening, presided over a symposium. In this social atmosphere, several games with a competitive element were also organized. But the word “symposium” has now come to mean a scholarly gathering.

The Spartans knew How to Get Ready for Battle

The Spartans were skilled in dressing for battle. In a battle, they also carried a lot of supplies and safety gear. Before engaging in combat, a Spartan soldier, also known as a hoplite, wore a massive bronze helmet, ankle guards, and a breastplate.

In addition, they used to have a long spear, a sword, and a spherical shield made mostly of wood and bronze. As seen in the film 300, Spartan soldiers frequently had long hair and wore a crimson cloak as their primary clothing.

Olympic Peace

All armed conflicts in ancient Greece came to an end—or were at least delayed by three months—with the opening of the Olympics. The Olympic Truce tradition, which goes back to 776 BC, was instituted to protect the host city from assault during the Olympic Games.

Additionally, it made it possible for guests to travel safely to the venue of the games without having to worry about it. Despite this, there were also fights during that time, but not in the Olympic region.

There Was the Sacred Band of Thebes Before Spartans

The great courage, endurance, and self-control shown by the Spartans are well recognized. Based on the Battle of Thermopylae, The 300 Spartans is now a part of popular culture because of the film of the same name.

The Sacred Band of Thebes vanquished the challenging Spartans. The group, which was made up of 150 men, all of whom were lovers, brought an end to Spartan’s dominance. The Battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C. brought the band to fame.

Cinderella inspires Rhodopis

A well-known hetaera in ancient Greek culture was Rhodopis. Cinderella, a beloved fable, was inspired by her life. According to legend, an eagle grabbed Rhodopis’ slippers while she was taking a bath and immediately dropped them upon the lap of an Egyptian pharaoh.

The Pharaoh was so taken by the slippers that he made the decision to send out a search team to find its owner. He located Rhodopis after searching. They finally got hitched, and Rhodopis ended up ruling Egypt.

Women Were Seen as Nothing More Than Objects

Women were viewed as pollutants in ancient Greece. They were completely dependent on their spouse and had no freedom or rights of their own. A woman was seen as the object of a man’s home in Athens. So, women’s personalities and entities were frequently rejected in ancient Greece.

They were urged to stay inside the home’s walls and warned against going out on their own. To use a married woman’s name in a public setting was also viewed as blasphemy.

Ancient Greeks Received Good Pay

In comparison to other civilizations, the ancient Greeks received generous pay each month. Ancient Greece reached the pinnacle of global economic growth between the fourth and fifth centuries B.C.E.

The incomes of regular people showed signs of economic improvement. During that time, a typical Greek individual made 12 kg of wheat. This was roughly four times more than the typical Roman’s monthly wage of 3.75 kg of wheat.

Women in Sparta were freer

The ladies of Sparta were a bit more emancipated than their Greek counterparts, notwithstanding the appalling conditions that existed for women in ancient Greece. They were granted some freedoms and advantages that were not available to the other women in the community.

In Sparta, a lady may possess her own land and engage in athletics. Additionally, they were educated. Unlike their Greek counterparts, they had their own areas of freedom even if they had to undertake household tasks.

The Marriages of the Spartans

Arranged marriage was customary in Sparta. There weren’t many love marriages. Again, the majority of marriages were fictitious in that men frequently had many partners in the past.

It was usual practice to cheat on your spouse. Ironically, Spartans who chose to stay unmarried faced severe punishment. When a child reached a certain age, there was legal machinery in place to force them into marriage. Those who chose to get married later were also not exempt.

A Breach of the Olympic ‘No-Woman Policy’

Women were not generally permitted to participate in or watch the Olympics, although there was a small exception for the equestrian competitions that allowed them to ride horses.

The Spartan Princess Cynisca took use of this provision to win the competition without ever taking part in it, making history for women. With two first-place finishes from her horses in the competition in 396 and 392 BCE, Cynisca was unquestionably victorious.

The Greeks Valued ‘Salt’

Similar to their Roman predecessors, the Greeks traded salt. Slaves were once purchased in return for salt. They also adhered to the adage that you shouldn’t trust a man until you’ve shared a salt pack with him.

The Greek term for salt is “alas.” Greeks are credited with coining the expression “not worth his salt.” They combined animal fats and ashes with salt to create soaps and detergents.

The Olympics was a much-anticipated event

The Olympiad was a significant occasion in classical Greek culture. It was eagerly anticipated and was well-attended. The Olympics were so cherished by the ancient Greeks that they centered their social calendars around them.

The occasion took place in July or August once every four years. As was previously noted, the Olympiad was followed by an Olympic ceasefire, a proclamation of peace that gave the conflict in the host country a three-month reprieve.

‘Shaking Hands’ was created by them

The way that people greet each other across the world was somewhat revolutionized by the Greeks. They bestowed handshakes on the globe. Yes, the handshake was developed by the Greeks, as evidenced by the numerous ancient Greek paintings, sculptures, and works of art.

However, in ancient Greek, the act of shaking hands was known as meiosis. Many pieces of art depict Hera and Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, shaking hands. However, handshakes were only exchanged between equals in ancient Greece.

Greek women were very fashion-conscious

Greek ladies were actually extremely fashion-savvy, it turns out. Now, more information. Although statement brows and unibrows are currently popular (thanks to Cara Delevingne), Greek ladies were the pioneers of this now-dominant fashion.

Ancient Greek society regarded the unibrow as a symbol of intelligence and a standard of beauty. Women without unibrows used to mimic them using cosmetics. To create the appearance of a single brow, they frequently employed soot, black powder, or goat hair.

They Had a Siesta Philosophy

The ancient Greeks were likewise leisurely people who thought a nap in the afternoon was restorative. Ancient Greeks were known for their afternoon naps, which were especially popular in the summer.

The Greeks thought a mid-afternoon snooze may keep the body from drying up. The Greeks used to get up from their naps, eat something, and continue working until nightfall. The afternoon naps, in our opinion, need to be made required by legislation.

The term “idiot” was coined by them

The Greek term “idiots,” which denoted a private person, is where the word “idiot” has its etymological origin. The term was first employed in an entirely different environment and meaning. In its original usage, the phrase was meant to describe someone who avoided politics.

Oh, how the Greeks of antiquity adored politics. However, the term “low level of intelligence” has come to be used around the globe. If you’re clever, you’ll see the connection between its previous and present meanings and understand the point it is attempting to make.

They Made the World ‘Music’

The gift of music was likewise bestowed upon the globe by the Greeks. — at least in written form! The Greek mythological goddess of the arts, the Muses, is where the term “music” originates.

Western music’s philosophy and composition have its roots in the music of ancient Greece. Prominent thinkers like Pythagoras also studied it to obtain an understanding of other areas of life.

Apples were thrown as a sign of love

Depending on how you look at it, the manner to propose to someone in ancient Greece was both sweet and subtly aggressive. Their beloved is that person! Greeks threw apples at people to beg for their hands in ancient times.

These apples in some circumstances turned into a source of contention. A lifetime of wealth was wished for wedded couples by tossing apples their way as well. Unrelated to this, before Newton taught us the theories of relativity, he was struck by an apple. Simply stating!

The preferred body type was the potbelly

Forget about your washboard abs and focus on your iron-pumped physique and musculature. In ancient Greece, having a pot belly was considered to be a legitimate physical form and shape rather than just extra body fat. A potbelly wasn’t a sign of gluttony or laziness either.

In actuality, the reverse was true. People with potbellies were seen as excellent leaders. We don’t mind using a body norm from the past in this case. Cheeseburgers need to be served right away!

They created dog collars with spikes

The first dog collars with spikes were made by the Greeks in antiquity. However, their original usage was for something else. Although the Egyptians provided the initial concept for dog collars, the Greeks were responsible for their practical perfection.

When defending the flock of sheep in ancient Greece, the sheepdogs on the farm wore these spiky dog collars, also known as medium, to prevent wolf attacks on their necks. It appears to have been a necessity-driven innovation to defend against the frequent wolf assaults on the farm’s livestock, including watchful dogs.

They were old

Many people in ancient Greece lived to be 100 years old. They had long lives because they followed a nutritious Mediterranean diet, engaged in vigorous daily exercise, and had excellent sanitation systems.

According to the Greek interpretation of the Mediterranean diet, enough of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil—also known as the “elixir of life”—should be consumed. It is said to have a wide range of positive effects on the body, including a decreased chance of Parkinson’s disease, enhanced lifespan, and Alzheimer’s.

The meaning of red lipstick was different

Crimson lipstick, which was created in ancient Greece from crocodile excreta and crimson pigments, was only worn by specific types of women. Only the escorts were legally permitted to wear this color. The flesh trade quickly began to recognize this tint.

According to Greek law, any other lady beside them might face punishment for engaging in obscene behavior by wearing red in public. The prostitutes can also be detained for not donning the official color of their line of work.

The Text of Boustrophedon

Writing in both directions on manuscripts was a regular practice in ancient Greece. As a result, the next line of the book would be written from right to left after a line that was written from left to right.

It entailed mirroring letters from one line to another, which made it much more challenging and perplexing for the author and the reader. For instance, I like everything about Greece. I adore everything about Greece.

The vending machine was created

The world’s first vending machine was created by the ancient Greeks, which brings us to our next creation. But there were no drinks or snacks available from this vending machine. Holy water was being distributed through a coin-operated vending machine.

According to academics, this vending machine was a development from the Greek civilization, which was one of the first civilizations to use coins. However, it ended up serving as the model for all contemporary vending machines.

Melons: More Than Fruits

Melons were referred to as both the fruit and a code term for a certain area of a woman’s anatomy in ancient Greece. Additionally, it was a general word for all fruits that were or appeared to be alien.

Various gourds-producing fruit is referred to by the Greek word melodeon (gourd-apple). In other words, the meaning of this phrase varied greatly depending on the context in which it was employed.

More authority for the people

In a civic sense, ancient Greek people were immensely powerful. They had a structure that permitted them to unite as a cohort and send a politician into exile for ten years. Ostrakismos was a custom intended to protect the foundation of democracy.

Ostrakismos was a kind of retaliation used against all politicians who at the time were viewed as both a genuine and prospective threat to Greek democracy. We exclaim, “Such cool!”

Then, Kettlebells were created

The Greeks were prolific inventors. When they weren’t creating tangible items, they created words and expressions that are still used today. Like the kettlebell, for instance. Greek Haltere, a forerunner of the kettlebell, was used to push athletes in the long jump in fifth-century Greece.

These kettlebells were utilized in Olympic competitions and varied in weight from two to nine kilograms, according to different study investigations. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia in Athens, Greece has a kettlebell that weighs around 144 kg.

They Didn’t Have Toilet Paper

It’s clear that the ancient Greeks lived several centuries before the invention of triple-ply toilet paper. The Greeks had a unique instrument for the job, but most societies discovered substitutes to our beloved paper that were comparable.

The Greeks utilized stones, pottery items, and pebbles whereas the majority of the ancient world used leaves, wool, sponges, and other materials that were equally soft. When nature calls, it is obvious that beggars cannot be choosers.

Their World Was a Rainbow

The Iliad and Odyssey were written by the renowned Homer, who is said to have had a different understanding of color than we do now. Or, at the very least, they discussed it differently.

The University of Nottingham’s Mark Bradly, an expert on ancient history, claims that the Greeks saw color as an object’s visible exterior shell. Thus, the color of the sky, the color of the skin, the color of the fire, and so on.

The timing was crucial

The Greeks really used two separate terms to express various parts of time, despite the fact that it can sound quite bizarre to us now. The first, Chronos, functions very similarly to how we personally perceive time. So, in essence, it alludes to time that has been measured, like by a clock.

Moments rather than seconds are measured by the second, Kairos. It speaks more explicitly about the appropriate or ideal time for anything. As the entire globe hangs its breath, it is explained that anything can happen. Pretty enigmatic, no?

Hair was important to men and women alike

Hair wasn’t simply a status symbol for women in ancient Greece; males also took great delight in their spectacular beards and long, luxuriant locks. The Greeks would compete to see who had the best-groomed facial hair, much like the hipster culture of today.

Long, well-groomed beards were considered a sign of manhood and wisdom. However, losing their hair was also viewed favorably since it was associated with maturity and experience. This is why busts of philosophers frequently have large beards and bald heads.

How About Some Cheesecake?

The Greeks were fascinated by sweetness, which may seem unusual given their peculiar bean stew. In actuality, the first cheesecake was created by the Greeks! They used flour, wheat, honey, and, of course, cheese to make their version of the popular cake.

The rich, sugary cakes were utilized in wedding customs to celebrate elegance. The fact that the cheesy cakes were provided to athletes as energy snacks during the Olympics was more intriguing. We should absolutely revive that tradition!

Greek Statues Had a Lot of Colours

Beautiful Greek sculptures have long served as a status symbol for the wealthy and distinguished. Because of their exquisite white stone, they are frequently regarded as the height of aesthetic expression. In fact, they were so appreciated that Renaissance sculptors made an effort to imitate the design.

However, we now know that sculptures in ancient Greece were actually richly painted with vivid colors and elaborate designs owing to contemporary imaging technology. Researchers and archaeologists’ reconstructions let us see how vividly colored these statues actually were.

The First Computer Was Invented by the Greeks

Analog computers have existed for a lot longer than current digital computers, which weren’t created until the 1970s. In actuality, Ancient Greece was home to the first computer. Because of the shipwreck, it was discovered in, the amazing hand-powered contraption was given the name Antikythera mechanism.

The device, estimated to have been built in the second century BC, was used to forecast eclipses and astronomical locations years in advance. It was quite complicated for its time and employed gears as well. Only in the 14th century did machines of this intricacy reappear.

They Offered Us a Theatre

The Greeks were the ones to develop an entire cultural movement around the art of storytelling, while not being the first human civilization to do so. Numerous plays created and performed by Greek theatre groups are still being performed today.

The amphitheater’s ingenious construction, which was designed in an acoustically friendly shape to ensure that even people sitting far from the stage could clearly hear the actors, contributed to the theater’s success.

The Origin of the Word Lesbian is Greek

The name of the third-largest Greek island, Lesbos, derives from the Greek term “forested” or “woody.” However, the island is not renowned for that. It is most famous for being the word “lesbian”‘s genesis.

It’s all because of Sappho, an island-born Greek poet. Sappho was a very well-known poet at the time; Plato famously referred to her as the “Tenth Muse.” Even now, her poetry about a woman lover is still studied and read. Additionally, she is the source of the phrase “sapphic love.”

To them, the Earth was round

Many academics in ancient Greece were interested in geography, astronomy, and mathematics. Contrary to common opinion, they were aware that the Earth was a sphere that spun through space. The first person to determine the circumference of the world is known as Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

He accomplished this by referring to vast survey data that was available to him as a result of his position as the illustrious Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. Due to his geographic expertise, he was also the first mathematician to produce a worldwide projection of the globe.

You must consume wine in this manner

While drinking a full glass of wine now and holding the glass by the body, among other social faux pas, was frowned upon, drinking concentrated wine in ancient Greece was.

One was required to fill their glass with water in a 3:1 ratio. People who didn’t add water to their wine were regarded as being morally bankrupt and alcoholics. However, the potent mixtures were only used on special occasions that called for celebration.

A sizable Slave-Based Population

Slaves made up between 50 and 80 percent of the total population in ancient Greece. As we just mentioned, salt was commonly used as payment for slaves. Ancient Greek slaves had no autonomy and belonged entirely to their owners.

They were thought to have breathing properties by Aristotle. The many battles that used to occur were the cause of such a big population. According to a study estimate, one of the four inhabitants of Athens around 320 BC was a slave.

Tricking the Inventor of Brazen Bull

Perilaus of Athens, the man who created the Brazen Bull, was duped into serving as the victim. In essence, Brazen Bull was a hollow statue. The hangman would light a fire beneath the bull after a man had into it, charring him to death.

Phalaris, the king of ancient Greece, chastised Perilaus for his innovation. He had to give evidence that his idea was effective. He gave in and went inside the bull’s womb. He was saved just before he was burned to death. Later, though, he has forced down a precipice.

No Clothes Gymnasium

Ancient Greek gymnasiums were clothing-free spaces that were predominately male-dominated. The gymnasiums, which literally mean “a school for naked exercise,” lived true to their name and were used by the athletes as a training ground.

The gods of the Greek Pantheon were respected by the ancient Greeks by competing in the nude. The gym was also a venue to engage in intellectual and social conversation.

The Red Carpet was created by them

Ancient Greece is where the idea of the red carpet first emerged. Prior to then, it was called Crimson (a shade of red) Path. Red carpets were thought to be a luxury reserved solely for the heavenly and not for mankind.

The ancient drama Agamemnon, which is the first of the trilogy of Oresteia plays, has a description of the Crimson Path. Ancient Greeks believed that the color red was divine and challenging to manufacture. The Kermes insect’s colors were used to create it.

More about the Mayan civilization has been revealed by laser technology than experts originally thought

The region of Central America that includes present-day Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala is quite mysterious. Here, 1,500 years ago, the Mayan civilization is said to have flourished. Laser technology has now greatly improved our understanding of this strange old world.

Murky Mystery

Despite the numerous finds that archaeologists have made throughout the years, they are simply fragments of a vast, incomplete Mayan jigsaw. When it comes to archaeologists trying to learn the truth about the Mayan civilization, time appears to be their biggest obstacle. Air surveys that provide comprehensive indicators of what lies beneath are nearly difficult because of the forest that has sprung up where the empire once stood.

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How Did These Legends End Up?

The Mayans are without a doubt one of the most mysterious civilizations the world has ever known. The Mayan Empire, which included much of the modern Yucatan Peninsula, was the preeminent power in South and Central America. The first Mayan towns date back to 1,000 BC. The unexplained demise of the civilization occurred about 900 A.D. What specifically caused this Empire to fall practically overnight? Maybe new solutions have come.

Battled To Survive

Before the Mayans started to create their first cities, they had already made a name for themselves as a formidable force. The final known Mayan city was conquered by the Spanish in 1697, bringing an end to a dynasty.’

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They Are The Designers Of Their Own Destruction

The Mayans were regarded for thousands of years as some of the greatest builders in human history. Archaeologists have discovered a large number of incredibly intricately designed stone monuments in Central America many years after their civilization came to an end. These constructions are said to have been built for a number of uses, including palaces, pyramids, and even sports arenas. Where are all the other buildings if several of them are still standing?

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Small-Number Power

A vast population is often anticipated to make up an empire. The Mayans, however, simply did not believe this to be the reality. Archaeologists think the Mayan population was very tiny, despite the fact that they may have built some of the most spectacular monuments of antiquity. There were only between 1 million and 2 million Mayans, it is commonly accepted. This is only a result of the terrain’s inability to support such a large population.

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More Than Is Obvious

Archaeologists have only just begun to study Mayan history in recent years. They had only inferred things up until recently from the incredible constructions the Mayans built over time. Of course, the researchers of the past lacked the modern technologies that we enjoy today. Many have conjectured that there is a great deal more hidden beneath the Yutacan forest. It appears as though that moment has come at last.

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Preserving cultural heritage

Not only external forces are aware of the significance of this inquiry. The first phase of a project that will take a total of three years is the technology that has been employed to achieve these new findings. It is organized by Pacunam, a Guatemalan nonprofit with the mission of fostering the preservation of the country’s cultural legacy. Over 5,000 square kilometers of only Guatemala would have been covered by the project by the time it was finished.

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Added to What You See

Making ensuring that all of the sites that the project unearths are preserved is one of the initiative’s long-term goals. Over the years, looters have dug several trenches, which archaeologists have found. President of PACUNAM Marianne Hernandez noted that many of these new places are simply new to us and haven’t been looted before. PACUNAM has more than enough justification to defend it given that individuals clear 10 percent of Guatemala’s forests each year.

Making A Leap Using Cutting-Edge Technology

It appears that an amazing piece of technology is likely to surpass the traditional archaeological digging technique. Scientists have developed a device that can pierce through layers of dirt and trees to discover what is hidden below the surface. The term for the new technique created by the concerned experts is LiDAR, which stands for Light Imaging Detection and Ranging. But what does LiDAR actually achieve that is said to have altered how archaeology is practiced today?

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Radar Radar!

The name of LiDAR provides a hint as to what it is used for in reality. In essence, it is a kind of radar that is mounted aboard an airplane. According to Ithaca College archaeologist Thomas Garrison, when the aforementioned aircraft passes over the target area, the radar fires “laser pulses hundreds of thousands of times per second.” And each time one of those lasers encounters a point of resistance, it comes to a stop and reports its findings to the airliner.

Jungle Mapping

When the data can be used to create a 3D map of the original terrain that previously existed, that is when magic happens. Pulses are transported to the forest floor, which reveals the landscape’s true form when the jungle’s characteristics are removed. It nearly seems as though every tree on the map was removed to show the researchers what the land would have looked like in the past. What about in Guatemala, though?

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Major Mayan Discovery Modifies Our Understanding

The discovery made by an archaeology team using LiDAR technology, in their opinion, has the potential to totally alter how we see Mayan society in the future.

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LiDAR Use in the Jungle

Naturally, the scientists employed the northern Guatemalan region’s dense forest with their amazing LiDAR equipment. Over 770 square miles of land were available in this region of the earth, which had only been little explored over the previous few thousand years. Thomas Garrison declared, “This is a game changer. He claims that it has transformed “the fundamental level at which we do Maya archaeology.” Surprisingly, there was one noteworthy finding that they had technically made years before.

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The Fortress in Shadow

Before LiDAR technology existed, according to Garrison, he and his crew had actually entered a Mayan citadel a few years prior. Just because it was utterly unrecognizable, they weren’t aware of it. There was a fortification nearby, he remarked. “I was 150 feet from this thing in 2010.” The stronghold had been hidden by the forest, so the crew was fully unaware of it. However, LiDAR found more than just the fortification.

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Get Set for War

The abundance of walls, moats, and fortifications was one aspect of the breathtaking scans that the archaeologists found most striking. This strongly suggested that the Mayans were accustomed to fighting and needed the necessary defence infrastructure. Before deploying the LiDAR technology, even Thomas Garrison was unaware of how well-prepared the Mayans were for combat. However, this was really the tip of the iceberg in terms of the astounding discoveries they had found regarding the Mayan buildings.

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Living a Life of Luxury

The data from the LiDAR technology revealed one surprising fact: many Mayans likely lived above ground on tall stone platforms they had built for themselves. Diane Davies, an expert in Mayan culture, is more impressed than ever. “Having such a big population living at such a high standard for such a long time really proves that these people were highly developed, and also quite environmentally conscious,” she added.

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Thousands Of Buildings

At least 60,000 Mayan buildings may be seen thanks to LiDAR technology! The complex’s sophisticated design shocked both archaeologists and historians alike, in addition to shocking the archaeologists with its vast size. The find also provided new insight into the level of sophistication of the Mayans. It implied that there were much more cities than had been assumed, which meant that the Mayan population may have been far larger than had been assumed.

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Additional Mayans

Thomas Garrison was able to provide a fairly accurate estimate of how much larger the population may have been in terms of numbers. “The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” the author added. In contrast to the 1 or 2 million previously recognized, Garrison argues that the Mayan population was likely closer to 20 million. There is a valid explanation, though.

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Another Farm?

The abundance of structures they uncovered is probably the primary factor in how archaeologists now perceive the size of the Mayan population. All the indications lead to the possibility that the Mayans employed these particular buildings for cultivation. Terracing and irrigation systems from the past are clearly visible. This would imply that the Mayans had advanced ideas about how to feed their people in great amounts.

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Archaeology is forever changed

The discoveries utterly astounded archaeologists from all over the world. They contend that the Mayans transported stone for their constructions via routes that extended hundreds of kilometers. The way that scholars see the formation of civilizations, in general, has undergone a radical change as a result of the complex clusters of roadway networks. One guy described the discovery’s profound impact on the archaeological community.

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Archaeology is forever changed

The discoveries utterly astounded archaeologists from all over the world. They contend that the Mayans transported stone for their constructions via routes that extended hundreds of kilometers. The way that scholars see the formation of civilizations, in general, has undergone a radical change as a result of the complex clusters of roadway networks. One guy described the discovery’s profound impact on the archaeological community.

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Greetings From The Jungle

According to Canuto’s interpretation of these results, the first ancient civilizations could have their roots in the forest. This is also because, of all locations, archaeologists utilized LiDAR technology on the historic remains of Angkor Wat. However, Canuto said, “We now have to consider that complex societies may have evolved in the tropics and made their way outward from there given the recent LiDAR-based data from Central America and [Cambodia’s] Angkor Wat.

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Observe The LiDAR

LiDAR is undoubtedly one of the most promising technologies for the future of archaeology. There is no way to predict what further it might discover based on what it has already accomplished. For those who created the technology and have the opportunity of using it, it is an exciting possibility. There’s a probability that ancient civilizations are buried beneath other jungles around the earth. Archaeologists may now go to places like the Congo Basin and the Amazon.

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Beyond a Simple Archaeological Tool

Thomas Garrison is unmistakably ecstatic about the potential LiDAR has for his career. He was keen to reassure those in other fields, though, that the technology will be helpful in fields other than archaeology. In actuality, his team only makes use of a small portion of LiDAR’s capabilities. About 92% of the LiDAR data is not used by us. We just discard it in order to create our maps, he continued. But those forestry statistics include a tonne of useful information.

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Protecting Forests Globally

LiDAR technology also offers the advantage of meticulously assessing the state of certain woods. In the end, this will contribute to additional environmental advantages such as forest fire prevention. You can just see the archaeological portion since that is what we concentrated on, according to Garrison. But that information may be used to calculate the carbon footprint and how quickly rainforests recover from forest fires. Thomas Garrison isn’t the only one who has cause to be happy about the discoveries, though.

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Emotional Achievement

Stephen Houston, a professor of archaeology and anthropology at Brown University, is one of those individuals who has devoted a significant portion of their life to learning the truth about the Mayan civilization. According to Houston, this is one of the most significant developments in Maya archaeology in the last 150 years. Houston became quite emotional as a result of the survey’s importance. “I know it sounds melodramatic, but the [LiDAR] imagery did move me to tears,” the author said.

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Still Much Work To Do

Surprisingly, some scientists predict that it will take them at least another century to completely digest and comprehend the data that LiDAR has gathered since it was first employed. According to Francisco Estrada-Belli, an archaeologist at Tulane University, “Lidar is revolutionizing archaeology in the same way that the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized astronomy.” To fully comprehend what we are seeing and sift through all of the data, it will take 100 years. However, LiDAR has also created other problems for its most devoted users.

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Great Issues

Thomas Garrison asserts that LiDAR has created a significant issue for Mayan archaeology. The hard aspect of LiDAR, according to him, is that it provides a compressed representation of the 3,000 years of Mayan culture that existed in the region. However, as we discover more about the Maya, it presents us with fresh problems, so it’s a terrific issue to have. Whoever decides to go down this endless rabbit hole of possibilities will face a lot more obstacles, though.

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Hazardous Game

Although the aforementioned archaeologists may have uncovered a significant discovery, the task wasn’t yet complete. In reality, LiDAR laser technology was only the beginning. In order to verify that all the data was true, engineer Albert Yu-Min Lin and his crew had to make their way through the jungles. To confirm all that LiDAR had just done for them, they had to avoid lethal snakes, scorpions, and deadly bees.

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Step by Step Lidar

The precise operation of the Lidar technology is depicted in the following figure in a clear yet condensed manner. The basic procedure is essentially divided into three phases. The lasers are first fired at the ground from the plane. In addition, some beams pass through the spaces between the trees because they reflect off the highest points on the surface. Finally, the technology can convert the beams into topographic scans by using them. Really great thing!

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Learning About The Lowlands

The Lidar technology poses the risk of revealing the precise location of the Mayans’ source of success. There are certain places that are larger and more intricately built than others because of the mapping that technology has produced. This could exist, according to Tom Garrison, in the lowlands. These traits are so numerous that we begin to wonder: Is this the Maya lowlands’ breadbasket? said, Garrison.

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Descendants of Maya

It should be mentioned that although the Mayan Empire was destroyed a very long time ago, Mayans still live today. In reality, there are still a large number of old descendants residing in the area where the former kingdom once existed. Incredibly, 14.3 million individuals in Guatemala, or 42% of the total population, are said to be Mayans. Between 20 and 30 million descendants of the Mayans currently reside in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

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Despite All Odds

The Mayans’ creation of their own country is nothing short of a miracle. Take into account the fact that these individuals lacked animals, transportation aids like wheels and metal-working instruments. But that’s not all. The Mayans also experienced quite gloomy living circumstances, with many of the marshes that were frequently destroyed by powerful storms. In spite of this, the Mayans were able to endure for many generations and create this amazing megacity.

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Much larger than England?

We may use comparisons to current locations to emphasize how vast the alleged Mayan monarchy was. In the years between 250 and 900 AD, civilization was at its pinnacle. The Mayans’ home territory is estimated to have been twice as large as medieval England during this period. But that’s not all. It would have had a considerably denser population than England because of the enormous population. It was bigger almost everywhere.

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What is in Store for the Future?

As of right now, fresh advancements are still occurring and the future is always changing. However, as was already mentioned, the three-year initiative being undertaken by the Guatemalan organization Pacunam to protect the nation’s cultural legacy is well underway. It seeks to cover a lot of ground related to Guatemala. It is only a matter of time until they find other Mayan pyramids and palaces when you combine it with the extraordinarily gifted archaeologists in charge of LiDAR.

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