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See how a lost city was rediscovered with lasers from the sky

This ten-minute video details the rediscovery of Mahendraparvata, a lost city that once thrived in the mountains of Cambodia 1,200 years ago. Hidden for centuries by the country's dense, remote jungles, the city was only rediscovered with the use of everyone's favorite archaeological tool: airborne lasers.


Archaeologists from Australia's University of Sydney used LIDAR — you know, like radar, except with laders — to reveal a city that had previously been buried deep within the jungle. The data revealed signs of multiple undiscovered temples, plus ancient canals and roads built by the inhabitants of Mahendraparvata. The actual physical confirmation of these discoveries was an adventure in and of itself, as the researchers and their guide had to traverse boggy, landmine-covered terrain just to reach the site. The video up top has all the details, but you can also check out Lindsay Murdoch's in-depth piece for The Age for the complete story.

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Robot Downey Junior

LIDAR of course standing for Lost-City Identifying Device, Aussies Reckon.