Oldest and Biggest Maya Structure Discovered

The logosyllabic script is the most sophisticated writing system in pre-Columbian Americas. Responsible for its development is the Maya civilization, which began about 2000 years before Christ. Without a doubt, Maya was a highly important civilization in the human history, having significant contributions in art, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, and more.

But whether we like to admit it or not, archaeologists still have a lot to learn about the Maya civilization. The good news is that researchers never stop searching for answers.

Oldest Maya structure belongs from around 1000 B.C. to 800 B.C.

Archaeologist Takeshi Inomata from the University of Arizona in Tucson and his colleagues have uncovered the oldest and largest structure built by Maya people. The construction was made of clay and earth and it was built somewhere between 1000 B.C. to 800 B.C.

Researchers turned to lidar to look among forests in Tabasco, Mexico, and uncover the hidden surface remains of 21 ceremonial centers. Lidar maps showed that each of the sites contains a square mound or a round near a rectangular platform that is running west to east.

The technique used for the discovery uses laser pulses for gathering data on the contours of jungle- and vegetation-covered land. The method has also uncovered other lost ruins from the Maya city of Tikal in Guatemala and a vast network revealing Southeast Asia’s Khmer Empire.

Inomata declared:

“Though there were probably some [Aguada Fénix] leaders who played central roles in planning and organizing such work, the main factor was people’s voluntary participation, which does not necessarily require a centralized government,”

Aguada Fénix was the main point of interest from the new structure. There, an elevated, rectangular plateau was found measuring about 1,400 meters long and around 400 meters wide. Within that portion, there’s a platform of about 400-meter-long positioned east of a tall earthen mound that measures 15- to 18-meters tall.

The study was reported in Nature on June 3rd.