Ancient Mayan City Found in Dense Jungle

Yucatan site was an important center more than 1,000 years ago, archaeologists say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2023 1:28 PM CDT
Ancient Mayan City Found in Dense Jungle
Mayan ruins in the Yucatan.   (Getty Images/MissNephew)

Archaeologists searching an area of uninhabited jungle almost the size of Rhode Island have found the Mayan equivalent of Providence. Mexico's anthropology institute says the previously unknown ancient city was spotted in searches of the Balamku ecological reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula using aerial laser mapping, reports Reuters. Researchers explored the site from May to mid-June. They say the city, on high ground surrounded by wetlands, appears to have been an important center between around 250AD and 1,000AD, though pottery and other items found at the site suggest it began to decline around 800AD.

Archaeologists have named the city Ocomtún, the Mayan word for stone column, the BBC reports. Numerous stone columns found at the site are believed to have been entrances to rooms in upper parts of buildings. Researchers say the core area of the city includes several pyramid-shaped structures up to 50 feet high, plazas with "imposing buildings,"
a ball court, and altars. The team says the city was found in an area of more than 1,500 square miles of jungle so dense it has been little explored. (More Mayans stories.)

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