Archaeologists exploring the deep jungles of Mexico uncovered the remains of a previously unknown ancient Mayan city.
A group from the National Institute of Anthropology and History’s Archeology Council discovered the city which was named Ocomtun, meaning “stone columns” in Yucatec Maya, while searching for a large stretch of unexplored Balamku Ecological Reserve on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
The scientists found large stone columns and pyramids, as well as three plazas containing “imposing structures” scattered around the ancient site.
“The site served as an important center at the regional level, probably during the Classic period (250-1000 AD),” team leader Ivan Sprajc said in a statement.
The INAH’s “Expanding the archaeological panorama of the Mayan Central Lowlands” project zeroed in on the remote area after spotting a myriad of pre-Hispanic structures through airborne laser scanning and mapping that was conducted in March.
They walked the earth from May to mid-June and found the Mayan ruins. The Mayans’ empire once covered southeast Mexico, Central America, and even parts of South America.
They found numerous stone columns littered throughout the area, which may have served as part of the entrances to the upper rooms of the buildings.
The city had central altars in an area near the La Riguena river, which scientists theorize may have been designed for community rituals, as well as a ball court for games that were widespread throughout Mayan civilization — players passed a rubber ball representing the sun across a court without the use of hands to land it through a small stone hoop.
“The biggest surprise turned out to be the site located on a ‘peninsula’ of high ground, surrounded by extensive wetlands. Its monumental nucleus covers more than 50 hectares (123 acres) and has various large buildings, including several pyramidal structures over 15 meters (49 feet) high,” Sprajc said.
Ocomtun lies within a few dozen miles of many other Mayan sites that have been discovered over the past several decades.
Archeologists believe the site probably declined around 800 to 1000 AD judging due to the “ideological and population changes” that led to the collapse of Maya societies in that region by the 10th century.
With Post wires
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