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Lost Cities of the Maya: Revealed

Category: News Release

Embargoed until 6pm on 1st February 2018

Lost Cities of the Maya: Revealed

TX date: Sunday 11th February at 8pm on Channel 4

Deep in the jungles of Guatemala, archaeologists have uncovered ground-breaking discoveries that are set to re-write the history of one of the world’s most mysterious and iconic ancient civilisations.

Lost Cities of the Maya: Revealed is a spectacular one hour co-production special by Wild Blue Media for Channel Four. The film offers exclusive access to new research revealing vast, long-forgotten cities hidden under acres of rainforest.

The Maya are known for their magnificent ancient cities that stand like sentinels in the dense jungles of Central America. But much of this civilisation has remained unseen and unexplored.  Lost Treasures of the Maya follows intrepid on-the-ground archaeology revealing brand new finds, as well as exclusive research, which is creating an extraordinary “treasure map” of the Maya world from the air. 

Cutting edge technology, known as a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data exposes thousands of man-made structures including pyramids, royal tombs, towns and villages.  With this unique insight, the famous Mayan site of Tikal is found to be just a fraction of an immense hidden metropolis. Meanwhile, new discoveries in the more remote areas of northern Guatemala reveal an extensive network of ancient settlements spreading across the country with networks of roadways and complex systems of agriculture.

Archaeologists involved in the project have heralded the findings as the greatest advance in our understanding of the Maya in over a hundred years.  

According to producer director for Wild Blue Media, Ben Crichton:

“Even as the edit progressed, more new and fascinating discoveries were being made, writing and re-writing the history of the Maya. We thought we had some great revelations, and then a phone-call later there are even more.  It’s been an amazing ride”

The findings have been astounding archaeologists, and are putting the Maya on the very top table of ancient civilisations, not only in the Americas, but the world, alongside China and Egypt. New research suggests that the Maya not only created spectacular cities, but managed and manipulated their landscape on an almost industrial scale to supply food and water for urban populations far bigger than anyone had ever imagined.

Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology Brown University, said:

 “It is beyond stupendous - I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology.

“The lidar completely changes the way we see the Maya. For the first time I have seen unsuspected fortresses, entire cities, settlements that are now doubled or tripled in size”

Lost Cities of the Maya: Revealed documents the start of a complete rethinking of the sheer scale and sophistication of one of the world’s most mystifying ancient civilisations.

NOTES TO EDITOR:

Commissioning Editor:  Rob Coldstream
Production Company: Wild Blue Media
Executive Producer:  Cameron Balbirnie

Wild Blue Media is an independent production company based in London.  Founded by ex-BBC Gary Hunter (Top Gear, Coast, Space Dive) Wild Blue is backed and supported by FremantleMedia to create new genre defining factual content for domestic and international audiences.