Scientists have uncovered a long lost Mayan city called Chactun deep in the jungles of Mexico. Long a blank spot in the map of Mayan civilization, the 54 acre city that was recently found is quite the impressive discovery.
Dating anywhere between the years 600 and 900, documents about the city have not been found in the other ruins of Mayan cities archaeologists have previously discovered. According to Lead archaeologist Ivan Sprajc, who is an associate professor at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the city flourished during the late classic period of Mayan civilization. Sprajc also believes that as many as 30,000 or 40,000 people could have called the city home during its height, however he cautions that this is estimate would require more extensive research to become accurate.
Complete with palaces, sporting arenas, pyramids and plazas, it may have been a governmental headquarters. Its vast size of 54 acres makes it one of the largest Mayan cities we know about, especially in the lower Yucatan region (per reuters.)
Architecture found in the recently found lost Mayan city of Chactun is puzzling researchers, who still do not know what the clear purpose was of many buildings. Explains Sprajc, “We have various pyramids and the buildings that predominate here are long, evidently palatial buildings, though at the moment we still cannot say whether they were homes of the elite, or administrative buildings – we can’t say much about their function.”
The word Chactun means “great stone” or “red stone” and was given that name by archaeologists because of the large, in-scripted stones that surround the city. These large, decorative altars and slabs of stone were called stelaes, and the inscription on one of them is what gave scientists the idea for the cities name.
Found on one of the stelaes in the city, a record that former Mayan ruler K’inich B’ahlam ordered building of a Great (red) stone in 751. This is according to an interpretation by the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Octavio Esparza Olguin.
Archaeologists believe that the stelaes served a religious purpose, acting as some part of a form of worship, although that exact purpose is lost in time.
Although a full excavation has not been conducted as of yet, if the ruins were to be brought back to life, officials believe that the newly found lost Mayan city of Chactun has the potential to bring thousands of tourists to the area every year.
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The Guardian Express