machu picchu

Ancient and Hidden, Machu Picchu's Complexity Uncovered by Archaeologists

Laser-equipped drones have helped archaeologists uncover previously unknown parts of the sprawling ruins

Inca Citadel Ruins of Machu Picchu Peru
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Hidden deep in the Peruvian jungle and shrouded beneath thick foliage, archaeologists have discovered a series of long-forgotten structures among the sprawling ruins of Machu Picchu.

Cutting through the foliage isn't easy, but such discoveries are becoming more common thanks to a combination of two technologies: lasers that can "see through" obstructions and drones that help archaeologists explore places humans sometimes can't easily reach.

Around a dozen small structures were identified less than 5 miles from the main remnants of the 15th century Inca city, on the outskirts of a ceremonial site called Chachabamba, according to a study published in the January edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The scientists used a type of remote-sensing technology known as light detection and ranging, or lidar, which bounces laser pulses off surfaces to detect features and map their contours. Lidar scanning, a relatively new tool in archaeology, is becoming an essential way for scientists to study areas that were once too dangerous or inaccessible.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com.

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