The monumental Maya building discovered

There are already great examples of his legacy. However, it was suspected that there was still a lot to discover. And thanks to new technologies, this forecast has been met. The monumental Mayan structure that was discovered between Mexico and Guatemala in Aguada Fénix, Tabasco can confirm this.

It was the largest in the entire pre-Hispanic history of the region. «We went to this area to look for primitive settlements. We were surprised to find this huge place in this early stage of Mayan civilization. "Anthropologist Takeshi Inomata says it. He is a professor at the University of Arizona and leader of the team that achieved the result.

The discovered monumental Mayan construction is the largest and oldest known to date.
The discovered monumental Mayan construction is the largest and oldest known to date.
Larger than the pyramids of Egypt

The laser images showed an artificial plateau between 10 and 15 meters high. It was 1,400 meters long and 400 meters wide. It is larger in volume than that of the Great Pyramid at Giza in ancient Egypt.

The structure – made of clay, something unusual among the Mayans – has nine causeways that start from its surface. According to a study published in the magazine on Wednesday nature, could have been used for the common practice of rituals.

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It was found that it was built between 1000 and 800 years before Christ. It is the oldest Mayan building that has been recorded. And one of the first tests to demonstrate the beginning of its Maya city-states.

The site was abandoned and nothing was rebuilt on the ground. Over time, it has been covered with forests and even some cattle ranches. Inomata located the southern part of the plateau, although they had no idea at the time of its actual proportions. "This structure was so large that it looks like part of the natural landscape when you enter it," he says.

The Mayans fascinate us for the development of their architecture and astronomy.
The Mayans fascinate us for the development of their architecture and astronomy.
LIDAR technology

A new technology called Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) was used to detect this new structure. A precise map of the locations can be created quickly using lasers.

The equipment is on an airplane. It sends out laser beams that penetrate the treetops, "says Inomata. As soon as they used the lidar," its perfectly rectangular shape became clear. "

Objects have been found that have been hidden for centuries. Including decorative and religious or functional objects. From clay pots to carved animal-shaped stones.

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Adriana Velázquez is director of the Mexican National Institute of Archeology and History in Campeche. This is a "very relevant finding" because it offers new contributions to the "early dynamics" of the Maya civilization. "The discovery can provide very important details about the Mayan political organization," he explains.

LIDAR technology offers archaeologists great advantages.
LIDAR technology offers archaeologists great advantages.

The study reveals a kind of Mayan architecture that was little known and based on clay rather than stone. "It has been widely believed that the Mayans learned several lessons about the architecture of the Olmecs. But this discovery makes us rethink things. The Mayas may have had this knowledge before they came into contact with the Olmecs," he says.

Change concepts

Inomata believes the outcome changes the idea of ​​how the Mayans organized their civilization.

"Archaeologists believed that social inequality developed, and then the elite, rulers, or other powerful people organized large construction projects," he says. But Aguada Fénix shows something else. The big constructions were made in the absence of a powerful elite, "he adds.

The main factor was the voluntary participation of people in the discovered monumental Mayan building. “This speaks for the potential of human cooperation. It doesn't necessarily require a centralized government, ”he says.

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