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Ancient Mayan City Found in Dense Jungle

Yucatan site was an important center more than 1,000 years ago, archaeologists say

(Newser) - 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...

Blue Fibers on Teeth May Be Clues on Mayan Deaths
Blue Fibers on Teeth May
Be Clues on Mayan Deaths
new study

Blue Fibers on Teeth May Be Clues on Mayan Deaths

Study suggests sacrifice victims might have been gagged in advance

(Newser) - Researchers studying the teeth of ancient victims of Mayan human sacrifice in Belize found something unexpected: blue fibers. And a new study offers an intriguing, if grim, theory about their presence—the sacrifice victims might have been gagged before death, reports Live Science . A story about this at Heritage Daily...

Theory: Maya Rulers' Ashes Used to Make Pelota Balls

Archaeologist believes it happened in at least 3 cases

(Newser) - Pelota is one of the oldest known team sports, played centuries ago by the Maya—in some cases, with a ball that may have been partly made from the ashes of their dead rulers. The BBC reports on archaeologist Juan Yadeun Angulo's theory, which was born from a pair...

The Maya Had Good Reason to Abandon Tikal
The Maya Had Good
Reason to Abandon Tikal
new study

The Maya Had Good Reason to Abandon Tikal

Researchers dig deep into the city's reservoirs

(Newser) - Why did the Maya flee the majestic city-state of Tikal? Experts say overpopulation, overexploitation of land, and droughts drove them out in the ninth century AD. Now, another cause: poisoned water. A new study says there's evidence of mercury and toxic algae ruining the drinking water just as residents...

This Is the Oldest, Largest Mayan Structure Ever Found
In Mexico, an
Find, Thanks to
Laser Mapping
in case you missed it

In Mexico, an Unprecedented Find, Thanks to Laser Mapping

3K-year-old platform is oldest, largest Mayan structure ever discovered

(Newser) - Archaeologists have just discovered the oldest and largest known Mayan structure, which easily tops the Great Pyramid of Giza in volume. The elevated platform made from 3.8 million cubic meters of earth and clay—discovered at Aguada Fenix in Mexico's Tabasco state, near the Guatemalan border—was constructed...

After Locals Told of the Cave, It Was Sealed—Until Now
After Locals Told of the Cave,
It Was Sealed—Until Now
in case you missed it

After Locals Told of the Cave, It Was Sealed—Until Now

Some 200 Mayan artifacts found below Chichen Itza

(Newser) - This "extraordinary" story could have been published 50 years ago. That's when locals at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza told an archaeologist about a cave there, but he had its entrance sealed, possibly to safeguard what was inside. The AP reports his brief report on it languished...

61K Hidden Structures Reveal 'Unimaginable' Mayans

Archaeologists look at the details of earlier LIDAR survey

(Newser) - Maya civilization was no mere collection of city states using slash-and-burn farming—that we learned earlier this year . Now archaeologists are looking deeper into an airborne survey that revealed a formidable civilization double the size of medieval England at its peak 1,200 years ago, Ars Technica reports. The survey,...

Mayan Civilization Has Been 'Grossly Underestimated'
Mayan Civilization
Has Been 'Grossly

Mayan Civilization Has Been 'Grossly Underestimated'

60K structures, including a pyramid, revealed in Guatemala

(Newser) - Only a handful of ancient Mayan temples rise above a dense jungle of trees in Guatemala. But what's obscured by the thick foliage, revealed for the first time, is evidence of a sprawling civilization to rival ancient Greece or China. Using LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging), which measures...

Maya Weathered One Collapse; the Second Proved Fatal

Hundreds of years apart, the collapses were eerily similar: study

(Newser) - The Maya civilization suffered "waves" of war and political instability before its collapse in the 2nd century. The civilization later recovered, but history would repeat itself just a few hundred years later, delivering a final blow, researchers explain in a PNAS study offering a clear chronology of the civilization'...

Our Days Are a Smidge Longer Than They Used to Be
Our Days 
Are a Smidge
Longer Than
They Used to Be
study says

Our Days Are a Smidge Longer Than They Used to Be

Which we know thanks to some meticulous ancient astronomers

(Newser) - The meticulous work of ancient astronomers has led to a modern observation: Our days are longer than they used to be. Not that you'd notice: The new research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A shows that it takes the Earth a tiny bit longer these days to...

Inside the Pyramid Is a Pyramid. Inside That Is Something More

Inside the Kukulkan pyramid are 2 smaller, older ones

(Newser) - On the surface, the Kukulkan temple that sits among the ruins of Chichen Itza looks nothing like a Russian nesting doll, but it's essentially the pyramid equivalent, scientists say. They'd known for decades that the 100-foot-tall structure in Mexico's Yucatan state sits on top of a smaller,...

Archaeologists Make Surprise Find Under Mayan Temple

They find water tunnels, maybe in hope of helping ruler reach the underworld

(Newser) - When researchers grew concerned about underground anomalies detected near the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, they began a dig to figure out whether the pyramid was in danger of collapse. This week, researchers announced that what they found was no anomaly but rather a small canal system, reports the...

Teen's Stellar Theory Leads to Lost Mayan City

His dream is to one day visit the site

(Newser) - William Gadoury has spent a fifth of his life researching the ancient Maya, and the 15-year-old's effort has just paid off in a big way—with the apparent discovery of a lost city. "I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal...

Water Temple Reveals 'Drought Cult' of Mayans

As dry spell worsened, offerings to gods increased

(Newser) - Mayans appear to have been done in by a series of severe droughts , and archaeologists now think that something called a "drought cult" sprang up when things were most desperate, reports National Geographic . Researchers led by Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois have found a water temple in...

Explorer Finds Lost 'Monster Mouth' City

Slovenian archaeologist finds Mayan city of Lagunita

(Newser) - Archaeologists have long known of a "lost" Mayan city boasting an incredible "earth monster" facade—and now someone has found it. Slovenian explorer Ivan Sprajc came out of the Yucatan jungle in Mexico with photos of the city, Lagunita, and a second, previously unknown city he's calling...

Archaeologists Make Grisly Find in Ancient Maya City

Mass grave bolsters belief that the Maya dismembered

(Newser) - The discovery of a mass grave is by its nature a gruesome find, but what researchers uncovered in the ancient Maya city of Uxul in present-day Mexico is that to the extreme. University of Bonn archaeologists on Tuesday announced that they have found a 1,400-year-old grave containing the dismembered...

Large Mayan Frieze Found in Guatemala

Archeologists were exploring pyramid

(Newser) - Archaeologists have found an "extraordinary" Mayan frieze richly decorated with images of deities and rulers and a long dedicatory inscription. The frieze was discovered in the northern Province of Petenelli by a team led by Guatemalan archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, a professor at Tulane. The archaeologists were exploring a Mayan...

Mayan Pyramid Crushed for Gravel
 Mayan Pyramid 
 Crushed—for Gravel 
in case you missed it

Mayan Pyramid Crushed—for Gravel

Belizean road crew wrecks ancient temple

(Newser) - Archeologists have been horrified to discover that one of the largest Mayan pyramids in Belize has been almost completely annihilated by road crews looking for an easy source of gravel. The 2,300-year-old temple at the heart of the Nohmul complex—at 60 feet, one of the country's tallest...

Guatemala Ex-Dictator Heads for Genocide Trial

Montt accused of overseeing atrocities against Mayan civilians

(Newser) - A former US-backed dictator who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala's civil war will stand trial on charges he ordered the murder, torture, and displacement of thousands of Mayan Indians, a judge has ruled. Human rights advocates have said that the prosecution of Jose Efrain Rios...

Schools Close Over Fears of 'Doomsday' Violence

People 'on edge' after Newtown: police officer

(Newser) - With schools on high alert after the Newtown shooting, rumors of a Mayan-predicted "apocalypse" are compounding fears of violence. Three counties in Michigan have been so overwhelmed with addressing the concerns that they've simply decided to close schools two days early for winter break. "We're not...

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