Oldest Mayan monument discovered in Mexico

The oldest Mayan monument was discovered by scientists from the University of Arizona in Mexico, close to the border with Guatemala, using aerial lidar images, news wires reported. The images showed a huge platform, hidden beneath the surface. It is about 1.4 km long, 400 m wide, and its height is from 15 to 20 m.

From the ground, it's impossible to tell that the plateau where this site was discovered hides something extraordinary, the research team said. However, from the sky, with laser eyes, and beneath the surface, with radiocarbon dating, it became clear just how historically important the location was.

The structure is connected to the outside world by nine wide roads and was turned in such a way that its opposite ends “looked” to those points where the sun rises on the summer and winter solstice. It was built between 1,000 and 800 BC, according to the team who published its findings in Nature magazine.

One of the most remarkable revelations from the find was the complete lack of stone sculptures related to rulers and elites, such as colossal heads and thrones, that are commonly seen in other Mayan temples. This suggests that the people who built it were more egalitarian than later generations of Mayans.

Mayan civilisation existed on the Yucatan Peninsula for several millennia, and disappeared during the ninth century AD. Then the Mayans left magnificent cities, and scientists are still arguing why this happened. One hypothesis says that the cause of this was prolonged droughts, according to another conflicts with other Native Americans have driven Mayans away.

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