June 19, 2024

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An ancient city with “highways” and 417 villages holds answers to the mystery of an extinct civilization

An ancient city with “highways” and 417 villages holds answers to the mystery of an extinct civilization

Scientists have discovered a hidden ancient city that was almost lost to time in the deep jungle of Mexico. They believe that this city hides answers to the mystery of the Mayan civilization and is rewriting the history of America.

The town of Oakpton has remained untouched for nearly 1,000 years. It was seemingly impossible to find, but his remarkable discovery now poses a challenge to the story as we know it. Researchers have also discovered elaborate structures that they believe were used for religious and cultural ceremonies.

A large pyramid complex at the archaeological site of La Danta in the vast El Mirador forest
A large pyramid complex at the archaeological site of La Danta in the vast El Mirador ForestCredit: Alamy

The world’s first highway system – connecting 417 villages

A team of scientists led by Dr. Ivan Sprajc managed to discover the ruins of an extraordinary Mayan city in 2023 in a vast jungle after kilometers of difficult hill hiking.

But what was discovered was more than extraordinary. Experts could not believe their eyes when they discovered 417 villages in the area, dating back to 1000 BC. What surprised them most was the maze of wide roads that connected these cities.

These roads were called boulevards, and researchers now claim that the 177-kilometre-long maze was “the world’s first highway system.” Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History described the discovery as “huge.”

Evan Spragek, once described by The Guardian as a “living Indiana Jones,” said: “The biggest surprise turned out to be the site, which is located on an elevated peninsula surrounded by extensive wetlands.”

Archaeologist Richard Hansen stands at the pyramid siteCredit: Richard Hansen
Archaeologist Richard Hansen stands at the pyramid site. Source: Richard Hansen

How did scientists discover it?

The city was once full of these complex structures. Researchers found the remains of huge pyramidal structures, three courtyards with “majestic buildings,” and numerous stone columns and cylindrical structures.

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The pyramid is believed to be 25 meters high and towered above the forest in which it once stood. Many high altars were also discovered, But perhaps most interesting is the ancient sports stadium that researchers believe was used for important religious ceremonies.

The city was nearly impossible to find, and Spragek said no one could know where it was. He told BBC Travel: “These cities have been lost to time. No one knew exactly where he was. but [το Οκομτούν] It was in fact the last great black hole on the archaeological map of the central Maya plains. “There was not a single known site in an area of ​​about 3,000-4,000 square kilometres.”

Sprajk and his team mapped the entire Mexican peninsular region using lidar technology. This is an advanced form of radar that can search through vast forests with dense vegetation.

Besides the extensive road network linking the cities, researchers also discovered sophisticated structures believed to be used in religious and cultural ceremonies, along with advanced plumbing systems and even extensive agricultural infrastructure, the Washington Post reported.

“The site was an important regional centre, probably during the Classic period [250-1000 μ.Χ.]»Sprajk added.

The ancient Mayan city in the middle of the jungle has been untouched for 1,000 years
The ancient Mayan city in the middle of the jungle has been untouched for 1,000 years

Because the history of America as we knew it is changing

Interestingly, scholars claim that the civilization had a well-coordinated economic, political and social system.

Some of the structures are considered “markets or spaces designated for community rituals,” such as a sports stadium, the research team said. “Only future research will shed light on the functions of these groups that are unique to the region.”Sprajk noted.

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The exciting discovery of the city, which was far more advanced than expected, now challenges the belief that the Maya people of the time were merely hunters and gatherers.

Richard Hansen, an American archaeologist and specialist in Maya history, said: “We now know that the Preclassic period was extremely complex and architecturally advanced, with some of the largest buildings in world history constructed during this period.”

Hansen said the results of these settlements were the “turning point” in the study of American history. He added that the results were revealed “A whole volume of human history, which we have never known before.”

Enrique Hernandez, an archaeologist at the University of San Carlos, who spent several months exploring the lost city, said this could prove “The importance of discovering the pyramids” Once the area is completely exposed.

Researchers discovered a huge rock believed to be an altar. Source: Evan Sprich via the National Institute of Anthropology and History

Researchers discovered a huge rock believed to be an altar. Source: Ivan Spretz via National Institute of Anthropology and History

What happened to the Mayans?

The Maya civilization dominated many parts of Central America for hundreds of years. They are generally considered the inventors of rubber, the first ball game, some medicines, diaries, and chocolate. But what made the Mayans stand out was their love of astrology and stone pyramids.

At its height, the Maya civilization consisted of more than 40 cities, each with a population of between 5,000 and 50,000 people. The most famous cities are Tikal, Oxactun, Copan, Bonamban, Bonampan, Bonampan Ac, Dos Pilas, Cocamul, Palenque, and Rio Pec.

But mysteriously during the 8th and 9th centuries AD, the Maya civilization began to collapse, and no one really knows why this happened. Some scholars say that a severe, centuries-long drought caused the sharp decline of civilization.

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The Maya were famous for their agricultural prowess, which could be ruined in the event of a potentially severe drought. Dozens of theories also attempted to explain the collapse of the Maya civilization, with some pointing to an epidemic disease or foreign invasion as possible causes.

However, some cities such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Mayapan on the Yucatan Peninsula survived for years after the Maya collapse. Today, an estimated six to eight million Maya live in Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, El Salvador, and southern Mexico, and speak 28 Maya languages.