Many centuries ago on the border of Belize and Guatemala, Maya people built a large city surrounded by a cultivated jungle garden that was home to around 20,000 people, which archaeologists call El Pilar.
Using LiDAR laser technology from a helicopter for Light Detection and Ranging, archaeologists have identified a citadel-type structure now forested over in the ancient Maya city of El Pilar in Belize.
The Maya began building monumental structures at El Pilar about 800 BC. The ruins of the stone buildings are largely covered over by forest except a house called the Hummingbird.
One fact they’ve discovered at El Pilar is that the residents fed themselves in part through what is called “Forest garden” agriculture, where the forest itself is cultivated.
The Maya people of the area grew a forest garden that provided bountiful food to the Mayan city of El Pilar, which once had 20,000 residents.
“At El Pilar, conservation is foremost, and the concept, known as ‘Archaeology Under the Canopy’ says that the monuments are best protected beneath the forest foliage. The objective is thus to selectively and partially expose only strategic areas, features that would visually demonstrate essential knowledge about the site. In addition, in keeping with the focus at El Pilar on researching Maya lifeways, the site is both an open-air laboratory and showcase for learning about and demonstrating the traditional Maya agricultural practice of forest gardening, a methodology for sustainability thought to be a key to the prosperity and florescence of the Maya civilization.”
Nohol Pilar is connected to Pilar Poniente in Guatemala by a system of plazas and causeways.
Source: Ancient Origins