Laser technology has revealed the ‘world’s first superhighway system’, a 110-mile (177-kilometer) network of raised stone trails that linked 417 Mayan cities, towns and villages. It forms “one of the earliest and first state societies in the Western Hemisphere,” lead author Richard Hansen says of the previously unknown 650-square-mile (1,683-square-kilometer) Mayan site in northern Guatemala that offers new insights about ancient Mesoamerican civilization. The causeways were made of a mixture of mud and quarry stone among several layers of limestone cement, topped with a thick layer of white plaster which would have increased visibility. Several were as wide as 131 feet (40 meters), nearly half the length of an American football field. Researchers are looking to gather more sampling and possibly locate more settlements through LiDAR technology this month to continue their research into the early Mayan civilization, Hansen says.

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