Ancient Purepecha city has as many buildings as Manhattan

Angamuco was also revealed to have an unusual layout, according to a 3D laser scanning technique
Capital city of the Purepecha people, Tzintzuntzan - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
19/02/2018
11:34
Newsroom
Mexico City
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An ancient Purepecha city was uncovered thanks to a modern surveying technique with laser scanning. The number of buildings of Angamuco – a city hidden by dense vegetation – is the same as that of the New York city of Manhattan.

This discovery, which could very well change textbooks, was possible thanks to the light detection and ranging scanning technology, known as lidar, according to The Guardian.

“The time and wavelength of the pulses reflected by the surface are combined with GPS and other data to produce a 3D map of the landscape,” explains the news outlet.

This ancient city, located half an hour from Morelia, the capital city of the state of Michoacán, was built by the rivals of the Aztec people. “To think that this massive city existed in the heartland of Mexico for all this time and nobody knew it was there is kind of amazing,” said Chris Fisher, an archeologist at Colorado State University to The Guardian.

The extension of Angamuco was of 26 square-kilometers, more than double of the ancient imperial city of Tzintzuntzan, the capital of the Purepecha civilization. “If you do the maths, all of a sudden you are talking about 40,000 building foundations up there, which is [about] the same number of building foundations that are on the island of Manhattan,” said Fisher.

Close to 100,000 people inhabited Angamuco during its splendor, somewhere between the 1000 and 1350 AD., according to the archeologist. Moreover, the city had an unusual layout: monuments such as pyramids and open squares were mostly built on the edges of the city instead of being located in the city center.

The initial discovery of the city was done in 2007 when archeologist used more traditional techniques and approaches to uncover it.

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