Sensational discovery in Mexico: archaeologists discover the oldest and largest Mayan Monument

More than 2000 years the Maya dominated large parts of Central America. Of their Power, the Remains of huge temples still bear witness to the pyramids in the ra

Sensational discovery in Mexico: archaeologists discover the oldest and largest Mayan Monument

More than 2000 years the Maya dominated large parts of Central America. Of their Power, the Remains of huge temples still bear witness to the pyramids in the rain forest of Mexico and Guatemala.

Archaeological finds also demonstrate that this culture was developed, both technically and culturally far: you took advantage of characters, led by a complex astronomical and calendrical calculations and constructed thought-systems to supply water to their cities.

Until today, controversial the origin of the Maya civilization around 1000 BC, as well as the causes of its decline about 1000 years after Christ, are against it. The latter include social conflicts and wars within the Mayan Kingdom, but also food shortages due to overexploitation of the soils, or the Invasion of foreign peoples. Also, an increasingly drier climate probably played a role.

In terms of the emergence of the Mayan culture, researchers are debating whether this has developed independently of its neighbors, or whether the early Maya from olmekischen roots are emerged, one even before the Maya in Central America, the lowlands of the existing culture.

laser scans reveal undetected monumental buildings

New light on the roots of the Maya throws a discovery in the Mexican Region of Tabasco on the border with Guatemala. "We thought that this area is on the Western edge of the Maya lowlands, perhaps, the key to the understanding of the relationship between the Olmec civilization and the Maya society," explained Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona in Tuscson and his colleagues.

to browse To this so far little-researched area for traces of the Maya, the archaeologists, the laser-based technology, "Light Detection And Ranging" (LIDAR). In the case of such LIDAR Surveys of the surface of a plane or a drone is scanned with a laser beam. From the reflected rays of the topography can be of the subsoil, regardless of the Vegetation to be determined. "In the low-resolution LIDAR data, which was created by the Mexican government, we noticed a huge platform," says Inomata.

When the researchers analysed the higher-resolution LIDAR data of the National Geographical Institute of Mexico, they discovered in this area, equal to 21 structures of the Maya. This is mostly for smaller ceremonial equipment, which typically consisted of a in the West lying round or rectangular survey, and an Eastern platform with buildings on it.

One of these places, Aguada Fénix, stood out because of its sheer size: "The LIDAR-measured data that the main plateau of this village is rectangular and is 1413 metres long and 399 meters wide," say the researchers. "Unlike other sites of this type that are not built very high, does this design ten to 15 feet above the surrounding area." At the edges of the platform nine ramps up. In the East and the West, adjacent to the smaller side platforms give the crack to the Ensemble, an almost cross-shaped base. As the researchers determined, must have stacked the Maya alone, for the main plateau of 3.2 to 4.3 million cubic metres of earth and rubble.

the Largest and the oldest structure in the Mayan

"The main plateau of Aguada Fénix is the largest structure in the pre-Hispanic Maya area," said Inomata and his colleagues. To build this structure must then be 10 to 13 million working days have been necessary. "It is therefore remarkable that this enormous construction was built in Aguada Fénix in the relatively short time of only some 200 years," the researchers report.

From radio mapping of the charcoal residue and other organic relics show that the Maya must have been around 1000 BC, with the construction of the main plateau started. Around 800 BC, the latest components, such as some of the ramps were completed. Aguada Fénix, therefore, is at least 50 years older than the one in Guatemala, lying Ceibal, which was previously thought to be the oldest known ceremonial center of the Maya. "This is the oldest Monumental structure ever found in the Maya area, and the largest pre-Hispanic building in the Region as a whole," conclude the scientists.

Aguada Fénix marked one of the most spectacular finds of the so-called middle preclassic period, – a period that is considered crucial for the emergence of the Mayan culture. "Aguada Fenix seems to have a Central role in this dynamic process of social and cultural Innovation between 1000 and 800 BC, had" explain Inomata and his colleagues. At the same time, it also provides valuable insights into the relationship of these early Maya to the neighboring Olmec.

Although the Maya are similar to plants in broad outline to those of the Olmecs, many of the Details and findings from Aguada Fénix, however, differ greatly. As the archaeologist reports, similar to, for example, the ceramic fragments, in this place, rather, those of the Maya city of Ceibal as the ceramics of the Olmec. In addition, all the Obsidian finds from the territory of present-day Guatemala, the Olmec to be moved to their Obsidian from Mexico.

another difference might be the social structure of the early Maya: "In contrast to the centers of the Olmecs in Aguada Fénix no evidence for a pronounced social inequality, for example in the Form of sculptures of high-ranking individuals," the scientists report. Also magnificent pyramids were missing.

According to the view of Inomata and his Team, these characteristics suggest that the early Maya had, unlike the Olmec, yet no strong hierarchies, with powerful elites. "In later periods, there were these rulers and administrative systems, which assigned the people to their work and position," explains Inomata.

"But this place comes from a much earlier time. We believe Aguada Fénix has been the result of community work. This demonstrates that you absolutely need a well-organized government, these kind of massive projects."

source: Takeshi Inomata (University of Arizona, Tucson) et al., Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2343-4

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Updated Date: 09 June 2020, 12:27

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