Archaeologists Unearthed An Ancient Mayan Palace, Bodies And Other Treasures—The Site Is Over 1000 Years Old
Archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered the remains of a large Mayan palace over 1,000 years old in an ancient city about 100 miles west of the popular beach destination, Cancún. Researchers believe the palace was an “enclave” of the famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, in the Yucatan province. Here’s everything we know about it.
The site, Kulubá , was identified as a palace after workers uncovered the base, staircases and a crossing.
The building of 55 metres, 15 metres wide and six metres high, appears to have been made up of six rooms, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. It is thought to be part of a larger complex that also includes two residential rooms, an altar and a large round oven. Archaeologists have also uncovered remains from a burial site, and hope forensic analysis of the bones could provide more clues about Kulubá’s Mayan inhabitants.
Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) believe the palace was an “enclave” of the famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá.
“It was in the Terminal Classic period when Chichén Itzá, upon becoming a prominent metropolis in the northeast of the present Yucatán, extended its influence over sites such as Kulubá,” said archaeologist Alfredo Barrera Rubio. “From the data we have and ceramic materials of the Chichén and obsidian type from the same sources that provided this Mayan city, we can infer that it (Kulubá) became an Itzá enclave,” he added.
Experts believe that the palace was in use during two overlapping eras of Mayan civilisation, in the late classical period between AD600 and AD900, and the terminal classical between AD850 and AD1050.
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“We know very little about the architectural characteristics of this region, the north-east of Yucatán. So one of our main objectives, as well as the protection and restoration of cultural heritage, is the study of the architecture of Kulubá,” said Barrera in a video made on the site. “This is just the start of the work. We are only just uncovering one of the largest structures on the site.” INAH archaeologists hope that Kulubá will become a natural attraction for visitors to the region, in the same way that tourists can visit Chichen itzá and Tulum ruins.
By examining the bodies found in the site of Kuluba, experts hope to learn more about Mayan people.
Bodies discovered during the uncovering of the palace will also be examined, and the INAH said future anthropological examinations could determine the sex, age, pathologies and even the habits of those Mayans.
The Mayans built one of the greatest civilisations of the western hemisphere.
The Mayan empire flourished across central America including what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Their cities featured pyramid temples and huge stone buildings, and they used agriculture and metalwork, developed sophisticated irrigation systems and invented a hieroglyphic writing system.
But Mayan society suffered a precipitous and mysterious decline between AD800 and AD1000. Scientists have suggested war, climate, disease and politics as possible causes, although cities including Chichén Itzá – which the archaeological dig suggests controlled Kulubá – flourished longer.