This week, all of Mexico is buzzing with excitement over the country's latest cultural news. An old Mayan city has just been discovered by archaeologists working deep in the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula. This latest site sits in the state of Campeche, about a six-hour drive west of the Riviera Maya.

 Acheological Sites Mexico

The new find has been dubbed Chactún, meaning "Red Rock" in the Mayan language, based on an engraving on one of the city's well-preserved stelae stating that former ruler K'inich B'ahlam "affixed the Red Stone (or Great Stone) in 751 AD." The full site covers an impressive 54 acres in the northern area of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, and features numerous monuments with inscriptions that over time will help archaeologists learn more about the complexities of Mayan culture. Although Chactún was just discovered a few weeks ago, archaeologists are already saying they believe the city ruled as a government from 600 - 900 AD. A three dimensional map has already been created based on extensive surveying of the site.

 Ancient Ruins in Mexico

Expedition leader and researcher Ivan Sprajc said, "It is one of the largest sites in the Central Lowlands, comparable in its extent and the magnitude of its buildings with Becan, Nadzcaan and El Palmar in Campeche."

 Ancient Artifacts Mexico

Closely examined aerial photographs of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve led to the discovery of Chactún, where a variety of elements prove it to be similar to many traditional Mayan cities:

  • Numerous pyramid structures (the tallest at 23 meters high)
  • 2 ball game courts
  • Residential areas
  • Monuments
  • Altars
  • Plazas
  • 19 stelae

Further exploration could dig up much more over the following years.

Ruins in Mexico Yucatan Peninsula 

Evidence shows that the city was re-used in later periods. Sprajc says, "These people may not have known the meaning of the monuments, as some of the stelae were found upside down, though they knew they were important and worshiped them, as ceramic offerings were found in front of some of the monuments."

Ruins Sites in Mexico  

The entire Yucatan Peninsula is eagerly waiting for the day when civilians can have the chance to explore Chactún!  It will be fascinating to see how it compares to other Mayan ruins in the region.

Acheological Zones Yucatan  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Winfree

 

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging, writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Nightclubs and weekly beach trips are her favorite part of living in Cancun!

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