New Insights into Honduran Archaeology from the Recovery and Reanalysis of an Antique Lidar Dataset


In response to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the US Geological Survey conducted an extensive survey of 15 modern cities in Honduras. This 2000 survey was carried out by the Bureau of Economic Geology of the University of Texas, and the resultant data were used to generate flood risk maps. The survey also produced the first lidar data collection of a Maya site; however, in the early 2000s, lidar algorithms were not capable of performing the same tasks as today. The final elevation rasters that were archived by the USGS were low resolution and had very basic ground/non-ground classification which made archaeological interpretation difficult. Over the past two years semi-raw lidar data was recovered from old magnetic tapes. We have been able to reprocess these data using current algorithms at a level suitable for archaeological investigation. The newly processed data provides unique insight into Honduran archaeological sites as well as settlement patterns throughout a large part of the country. This paper discusses these lidar data from better-known locations such as Copan, the Sula and Comayagua Valleys, and from less-studied areas along the Atlantic Coast, the Aguan and Olancho Valleys, and the southern gulf of Fonseca region.

Cite this Record

New Insights into Honduran Archaeology from the Recovery and Reanalysis of an Antique Lidar Dataset. Juan Fernandez Diaz, Anna Cohen, Christopher T. Fisher, Ramesh Shrestha, Alicia M. Gonzalez. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445136)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -92.153; min lat: -4.303 ; max long: -50.977; max lat: 18.313 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21237