Lost city uncovered in Africa using airborne laser scans

Rob Waugh
·Contributor
It’s now thought to have been home to 10,000 people (Reuters)
It’s now thought to have been home to 10,000 people (Reuters)

A settlement long dismissed as a scattering of stone huts has been revealed to be the remnants of a much larger ancient city in South Africa, lost for hundreds of years.

Researchers now believe that the city, called Kweneng, was a metropolis which peaked in the 15th century, and which was home to up to 10,000 people.

Kweneng has been lost beneath vegetation for 200 years – but research using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has revealed a much larger metropolis.

The find will help researchers to fill in the history of an area with no written record of its pre-colonial era.

Researchers believe that the city, which spans eight square miles, was a rich and thriving metropolis with large cattle markets and rock walls.

Researchers believe it may have declined after civil unrest, Science Alert reports.

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Fern Imbali Sixwanha, an archaeologist at the University of Witwatersrand said, ‘What this means is filling in a huge historical gap, especially for southern Africa, because we know pre-colonial history of southern Africa has no written record.

‘So now we’re starting to fill in the gaps using this LIDAR technology.’

‘One of the most enlightening things is, as I’ve been able to understand what we were doing in our past you know, it gives us more broader idea of the people of southern Africa who they were and the types of activities that they did because you can now rediscover that activity line and just general interaction within the society.’

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