View the series
Only available for non-commercial distribution
© CNRS - 2019

Mayans were country bumpkins ZdS#26

featuring "Passé sauvage"

Series title

Zeste de science





Production year



Original material



The Youtube channel Zeste de science explores all aspects of scientific research, proving that even the most complicated scientific facts can be explained in less than 5 minutes, and that even the most seemingly trivial events of everyday life, if thoroughly studied, can contribute to the biggest technological advances.
Episode 26: In 2018, an international partnership of scientists began mapping the ground surface in the Mayan area over 2000 square kilometres using light detection and ranging technology (LIDAR). LIDAR is an imaging technology that probes the terrain micro-reliefs using a laser sensor on board an aircraft or a drone.
More specifically, a Franco-Guatemalan team studied the digital terrain models from the Naatchtun site. Researchers thus identified many previously unknown remains, which testify to a high population density throughout the area, as well as intensive agricultural land use and an extensive road network. These discoveries contradict the vision of classical archaeology and thereby offer a new vision of Mayan society.


Scientific referent(s)

CNRS Institute(s)

Regional office(s)

Scientific topics

CNRS Images,

Our work is guided by the way scientists question the world around them and we translate their research into images to help people to understand the world better and to awaken their curiosity and wonderment.