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06/18/2013

Discovery of a new Mayan ruin

ARQUEÓLOGO IVAN SPRAJC. FOTO MAURICIO MARAT. INAH
Deep in the jungles of southeast Campeche state, archaeologists have discovered a significant new Mayan site, called Chactun, or Red Rock, that was thrived roughly from 600 to 900 A.D.

DETALLE DE LA ESTELA 1. COMPLEJO OESTE. FOTO MAURICIO MARAT INAHThe site, never reported previously, is “one of the largest sites ever registered in the Central Lowlands,” the National Institute of Anthropology and History said.

Led by Ivan Šprajc, a team of Mexican and foreign archaeologists and experts financed by National Geographic came across the ruin a few weeks ago after studying aerial photos. The expedition was also financed by the Austrian firm Villas and the Slovenian company Ars longa. That's Šprajc in the photos, by the way.

"It is one of the largest sites in the Central Lowlands, comparable in extent and magnitude of its buildings to Becan, Nadzcaan and El Palmar in Campeche," said Šprajc, a Slovenian researcher.

It wasn’t easy to get to the 55-acre site. The explorers and archaeologists followed ancient trails used by gum tappers and loggers.

“The road is passable only with four-wheel drive and one must continually stop to cut back the vegetation with a machete that block the path,” the Institute press release said.

Here’s more from the press release. If language is a little stilted, it's because I ran Google Translate on it:

“The site comprises three monumental complexes. The West, which covers an area of over 11 hectares, while the Southeast and Northeast together account for a combined equal area.

“Around these spaces are scattered numerous pyramidal, palatial structures, including two ball courts, patios, plazas, sculptured monuments and residential areas. While the tallest pyramid, 23 meters high, is located in the West Complex, what is most impressive is the volume of building construction.

“It is the stelae and altars, some of which still contain stucco, that best reflect the splendor of this city in the so-called Late Classic Period (600-900 AD).

“Contemporary Maya cities to Chactun include Calakmul, Becan and El Palmar-known for their large number of altars and stelae, which combine carved inscriptions with painted stucco, a rare feature in this type of monument.

“Of the 19 stelae recorded so far, three are the best preserved.”

FRAGMENTO. DECORACIÓN DE ESTUCO EN UNA ESTRUCTURA DEL COMPLEJO SURESTE. FOTO MAURICIO MARAT INAH

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nicole ramirez

i live in Yucatan the next state over...new site discoveries happen frequently...there are so many ruins down here...but if they were to find artifacts...some new insight into the mayan culture...that would be something.

ypochris

Cool discovery. I've often thought additional sites could be located through aerial photography, looking for high spots in the flat jungle. How many more cities are hidden out there?

Now there needs to be an immerdiate concerted effort to keep the inevitable looters away...

hana

Exciting!! I wonder if my Maya guide friends have heard?

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Tim

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