A medieval city, known to archaeologists since the 1900s but buried under vegetation, has been found using new technology.

Previously known only in manuscripts, the 1,200 year old city of Mahendraparvata, has been discovered in northwest Cambodia on the mist-covered mountain Phnom Kulen. Built centuries before Cambodia’s most famous temple city, Angkor Wat, archaeologists have known about the buried city for decades, but were recently able to use laser technology to finally find its actual location and discover its true size.

The team used lidar (light detecting and ranging) technology, and airborne lasers that are beamed from a helicopter to the ground and then bounce back. The speed at which the rapid pulses of lasers bounce back is measured and builds up a complex 3D picture of what is on the ground. In this case, the laser technology not only confirmed what archaeologists already knew, that Mahendraparvata was there, but revealed an infrastructure that researchers did not quite expect. Said  Roland Fletcher, of the University of Sydney:

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