3-D mapping of Guatemala’s “Head of Stone” confirms ancient Maya buildings buried beneath forest cover
An archaeological team co-led by SMU archaeologist Brigitte Kovacevich has made the first three-dimensional topographical map of ancient monumental buildings long buried under centuries of jungle at the Maya site “Head of Stone” in Guatemala.
The map puts into 3-D perspective the location and size of Head of Stone’s many buildings and architectural patterns, which are typical of Maya sites.
Using portable 3D laser technology, scientists have preserved electronically a rare 110 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprint that was previously excavated and built into the wall of a bandstand at a Texas courthouse in the 1930s.
The laser image preserves what is called a “type specimen” footprint — an original track used many years ago to describe a new species of dinosaur, says paleontologist Thomas L. Adams at SMU.
Portable 3D laser scanners capture original fossil morphology and texture, making it possible to use the data for rapid 3D prototyping in foam or resin, Adams says.
“The track is scientifically very important,” says Adams. “But it’s also a historical and cultural icon for Texas.”