They were not only very advanced in astronomical and mathematical knowledge. The ancient Maya of the once bustling city of Tikal were skilled inventors. Thanks to this, they built sophisticated water filters. They used natural materials that were also imported. Yes, the water treatment plant that the Mayans used is amazing.
It was discovered by researchers at the University of Cincinnati. There is evidence of a filter system in the Corriental Reservoir. It is an important source of drinking water for the ancient Mayans and is located in what is now northern Guatemala.
A multidisciplinary team of anthropologists, geographers, and biologists identified the materials. It’s crystalline quartz and zeolite that are imported from the city for miles. Quartz in coarse sand together with zeolite, a crystalline compound made of silicon and aluminum. Together they form a natural molecular sieve. Both minerals are used in modern water filtration.
The filters would have removed harmful microbes and nitrogen-rich compounds from the water. Heavy metals like mercury and other toxins in the water. So said Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, associate professor of anthropology and author of the study.
“It is interesting that this system is still effective today. And the Mayans discovered it more than 2,000 years ago, “Tankersley said in a statement. Your study will be published in scientific reports.
The Mayans created this water filtration system almost 2,000 years ago. Even before similar systems were used in Europe. That makes it one of the oldest water purification systems of its kind in the world, Tankersley said.
Researchers at the UC College of Arts and Sciences have traced the zeolite and quartz back to the rugged ridges around the Bajo de Azúcar. It is about 30 kilometers northeast of Tikal. They used X-ray diffraction analysis to identify the materials in the reservoir sediments.
At Tikal, zeolite was only found in the Corriental reservoir.
For the ancient Mayans, finding ways to collect and store clean water was vital. Tikal and other Mayan cities were built on porous limestone. It made it difficult to obtain drinking water for much of the year during seasonal drought. The water treatment system invented by the Mayans is another sign of their progressive development.