Lacking the logistical resources necessary to traverse the Llanos de Mojos on foot, Prümers and Betancourt decided they would try to create a map of the Casarabe culture using light detection and ranging technology. This technology, better known as lidar, previously helped archaeologists get a clearer picture of Olmec and Mayan urban planning in Mesoamerica. Prümers’ team surveyed an area of 204 square km, concentrating on major excavation sites.
Cotoca and Landíva: urban centers
The lidar scans mapped out a total of 26 Casarabe settlements, 15 of which were already known to exist. The researchers then organized the settlements into five distinct categories, based on the dimensions of their architecture, the scale of water management infrastructure, and the number of causeways leading to and from the sites, among other factors.