Neuron Expedition Aims to Discover a Lost Mayan City

LIDAR scanning images reveal the presence of a significant Mayan civilization city in the northern part of Guatemala. Is there a 4,000-year-old settlement hidden amidst the jungle? How did the people live here, and what did their society and culture look like? These questions are what the Neuron Expedition aims to answer in its search for the lost Mayan city. In July 2023, a six-member team led by Ladislav Šilhán, an expert in 3D visualization of Mayan centers, will embark on an archaeological expedition to explore the site and prepare its model. Neuron has provided support to the team with a grant of 898,990 CZK.

"The area under investigation is difficult to access, but our images reveal an extensive agglomeration," says Ladislav Šilhán. "According to them, the city contains palaces for the highest elites, astronomical observatories, and likely served as the seat of an unknown kingdom. It is possible that it represents a twin city or a larger agglomeration whose role in Mayan history has remained unknown so far."

Based on the initial LIDAR measurements, the Neuron Expedition has now created a predictive model of the city using neural networks. This model will assist in identifying structures and their locations. The team will then verify their findings on-site in the Guatemalan jungle. The expedition will conduct excavations and carry out traditional archaeological surveys, focusing on two selected ceremonial power zones. The research will determine the construction phases of the city and the chronology of its center. In the expedition's field laboratory, the acquired materials will be processed and preserved.

Upon returning home, Ladislav Šilhán's team will continue their work with the data, creating a digital 3D model of the city, including all buildings, squares, and roads, and describing its urban and social characteristics. However, this is not the end of the journey to Central America for the Neuron Expedition. They have a scheduled research program for the lost Mayan city for the next ten years.

The new Neuron Expedition has garnered great enthusiasm among Neuron supporters. Archaeologist Sara Polak and director Amálie Kovářová will also join the expedition, with Kovářová preparing a documentary film based on the research in Guatemala