(TMU) — Mexican archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a vast palace dating back to the height of Mayan civilization 1,000 years ago in an ancient city lying 100 miles west of Cancun.
The remains of a building that was 20 feet (six meters) high, 180 feet (55m) long, and 50 feet (15m) wide and comprised of six rooms was found at an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Kulubá in the state of Yucatán, Reuters reports.
Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) believe that the palace was used during two periods of Mayan history, namely the Late Classic (600-900 AD) and the Terminal Classic (850-1050 AD) periods.
The building appears to be a part of a much larger complex that includes two residential rooms, an altar, and a large round oven. Remains have also been uncovered from a nearby burial site. Archaeologists hope that a forensic analysis of the remains can provide a better glimpse at the lives of Kulubá’s inhabitants.
In a video released by INAH, archaeologist Alfredo Barrera Rubio explained:
“We know very little about the architectural characteristics of this region, the north-east of Yucatán. So one of our main objectives, as well as the protection and restoration of cultural heritage, is the study of the architecture of Kulubá.
This is just the start of the work. We are only just uncovering one of the largest structures on the site.”
Prior to the Spanish invasion and colonization of what is now called Latin America, the Mayan civilization flourished in the Mesoamerican region.
At its peak, the Mayan civilization encompassed huge stretches of territory populated by diverse peoples in what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador. Mayan cities featured grand pyramid temples, massive stone buildings, elaborate irrigation systems, advanced agriculture and metalwork, as well as hieroglyphics-based writing systems.
Classic Mayan society suffered a major decline between 800-1000 AD, leading to the collapse of many of the great urban centers of the Maya. Scientists believe that political shifts, climate, disease, collapsing trade routes, and invasions by neighboring civilization are to blame for the collapse of vast swathes of Mayan territory.
However, certain cities like Chichén Itzá—also located in Yucatán State—continued to flourish.
In a statement from INAH, Barrera explained:
“It was in the Terminal Classic era when Chichén Itzá, becoming a prominent metropolis in the northeast of present-day Yucatan, extended its influence over sites such as Kulubá … due to the data we have and materials like Chichén-style ceramic and obsidian from and obsidian-type ceramic materials from the same sources provided to this Mayan city, we can infer that it became an enclave for the Itzá [ethnicity].”
Due to concerns about the wind and sun damaging the exposed site, conservationists are considering reforesting parts of Kulubá.
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