A lost Maya city was found by archaeologists in the southern Mexican jungle. According to a statement from the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the site is situated in the Balamkú natural reserve in the state of Campeche’s central region.
Archaeologists believe that the location, which has a number of substantial pyramidal buildings, was a significant center in the area during the Classic period of the Maya civilization (about 250–1,000 A.D.).
Up until the time of Spanish colonization, the Maya civilization ruled over what is now southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and the western regions of El Salvador and Honduras for more than 3,000 years.
They are renowned for their magnificent architecture, works of art, and advanced astrological, mathematical, and calendar systems. The first completely developed writing system in pre-Columbian America was also created by them.
The most recent discovery was uncovered by Ivan Prajc’s team of archaeologists in the “monumental” Maya site at Balamk.
The study team named the site “Ocomtn,” which means “stone column” in the Yucatec Maya language, in honour of the numerous cylindrical stone columns that are scattered throughout the prehistoric village. The entrances to the higher chambers of the city’s constructions were likely serviced by the columns.
The site was discovered as a consequence of a research project that received approval from INAH and aimed to learn more about a sizable, largely unexplored area in the state of Campeche that was basically unknown to archaeologists.
In order to discover several pre-Hispanic buildings in this area, researchers used aerial surveys and LiDAR technology.
LiDAR makes use of equipment that is placed on aeroplanes and shoots hundreds of thousands of laser light pulses per second at the ground. The obtained data is then used to construct sophisticated 3D maps that show the terrain’s topography and any newly undiscovered features made by prehistoric humans.
Along with doing fieldwork, archaeologists travelled over 40 kilometres through deep jungle to reach the site.
In the southeast quadrant of the site, where large constructions predominated, three plazas were found, according to Prajc. Between the two main plazas lies a complex made up of several low, elongated structures that are arranged nearly in concentric rings. Researchers also discovered a ball court that was utilised for pre-Hispanic ball games.
One pyramid, which is located in the northern part of the site, is said to be roughly 82 feet (25 metres) tall, while others can be as tall as 50 feet (15 metres).
The biggest surprise turned out to be the site’s placement on a “peninsula” of high terrain that was surrounded by enormous marshes. More than 50 hectares of its imposing centre are occupied by a variety of large buildings, many of which are 15-meter-tall pyramidal structures.
The area may have served as a key regional centre during the classical era.
The settlement may have fallen during the chaotic Terminal Classic era (800–1,000 A.D.), according to architectural ruins found at the site.
This information demonstrates how ideologies and populations shifted throughout periods of crisis, which ultimately led to the dissolution of the complex sociopolitical system and a precipitous decline in population in the Maya Central Lowlands by the 10th century.