“I have explored the site many times, but lidar gave me another view of the land,” lead study author Stéphen Rostain, an archaeologist and director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), told Live Science.
“On foot you have trees in the way, and it’s difficult to see what’s actually hidden there.” Lidar images showed that the site contained more than 6,000 rectangular earthen platforms, plaza structures and mounds that were interconnected via an extensive gridwork of straight roadways and footpaths.
The researchers also discovered groupings of nearly 15 distinct settlement sites that ranged in their size and number of structures.
Some of the settlements also had huge mounds that stretched up to 492 feet (150 meters) long and stood 26 feet (8 m) high, Mr Rostain added.
It comes after a 2000-year-old temple filled with gold and jewels has been unearthed in Greece by archaeologists.
The site, excavated on the Greek island of Evia, was discovered packed full of gold, silver and amber.
Dating back to 7th century BC, the 100-foot building was uncovered in 2023 by a team of 50 researchers.
“The excavation of the archaic temple brought to light rich offerings: Corinthian alabaster, attic vases, ritual prochos of local production, as well as jewelry made of precious materials like gold, silver and coral,” Greece’s ministry of culture said.
A number of structures were also discovered inside the temple which were likely used as altars by worshippers.