Researchers Discover 'Lost City' In South Africa

Laser technology helped uncover an ancient city.

Archaeologists in South Africa discovered a "lost city" using laser technology that helped them map out a city underneath the earth.

The city, named Kweneng, existed between the 15th and 19th centuries. Researchers suspect it went into decline because of civil conflict, but at one time it was home to more than 10,000 people. It spanned 20 kilometers and had more than 800 homesteads and other structures, Reuters reported.

A group of researchers from the University of Witwatersrand used laser technology know as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)  that scans the earth and sends back data.

"Scanning machine that sends out laser light and basically bombards the landscape, I mean billions and billions of pulses of laser lights something like four or five hundred per square meter, just all time coming out, and as soon as each pulse hits an object, any solid object, a bird or a leaf or a tree or the ground, it reflects straight back to the machine and then the machine can figure it out where that interception took place in three dimensions," Karim Sadr, a professor at the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, told Reuters. "So when the plane collects all of this data, masses of it, and it comes down to ground, they download the data, then they can project that data."

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