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Earth Have Been Resetting Itself Since The Past
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Archaeologists have discovered several medieval cities, buried beneath the forest floor in Cambodia: The largest is said to rival the modern Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, in size.
It's a monumental discovery, based on two major archaeological surveys of the area around Siem Reap, not far from the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat in the heartlands of the ancient Khmer culture.
Once, an archaeologist would have spent their entire career hacking through the jungle, machete in hand, in order to map these ruins.

But thanks to the clever use of airborne laser scanning technology, the entire project took just three years. Such is the incredible power of Lidar — short for "light detection and ranging" — an innovation which is causing great excitement throughout the archaeological world.
From 2012 to 2015, archaeologist Damian Evans and his team used Lidar technology, mounted on helicopters, to map some 2,230 square kilometers (862 square miles) with an accuracy of +/- 150 mm (6 inches).

With 16 data points measured every square meter, the researchers were not only able to pinpoint well-known monumental stone structures in exquisite detail, they also discovered the massive urban cultures which surrounded these temples, identifiable by the remains of earthworks such as mounds, canals, roads and quarries.
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Lidar was first developed in the early 1970s to assist with space exploration; it was initially used on the Apollo 15 mission to map the surface of the moon.

As its name suggests, the technology uses lasers to measure distance. When linked to a high precision GPS and mounted on an aerial platform, such as a plane or helicopter, it can produce a three-dimensional point cloud of the land surface below.
This technology is very exciting for archaeologists. Not only can it rapidly map huge areas of ancient landscapes, but the lasers are actually able to "see through" vegetation by multiple scans and by recording several reflections from a single pulse.

By carefully choosing the correct time of year, when the leaf coverage is reduced, it is possible to record landscapes in tropical environments — a feat which ground-based archaeologists have always had great difficulty with, due to dense plant coverage and often poor GPS reception.
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A different picture

With these findings, a completely novel view of the Khmer culture is emerging, which brings into question what we know about a great many other ancient civilizations.

So far, the great tropical civilizations of the world have remained some of the most enigmatic. Although they have produced great stone monuments, archaeologists still have many unanswered questions about how they operated, where their populations lived and how large they were.
This applies not just to the Khmer of Cambodia, but to civilizations throughout southeast Asia; from Srivijaya in Sumatra, to Borobudur in Java. Similarly, in Africa, we know little about the great kingdoms of Kongo or Benin, which are still largely covered in forest.

Lidar may well help us find answers to some of these questions.

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