Not long after archaeologists discovered a lost city hidden in a remote area of Cambodia a similar find has been unearthed in Mexico as well. The settlement is believed to date back as far as 600 AD and was once one of the largest cities in the Mayan Empire.
A team of researchers first spotted the ancient site in ariel photographs but had to actually get on site to confirm their speculation of a hidden Mayan city located in the Yucatan region. It took a group of explorers three weeks to hack their way through ten miles of jungle just to reach the place that they call “Chactun,” but when they got there, their efforts were well rewarded.
The archaeologists have only just begun to clear the site but they have already found a stunning array of structures. So far the site spans some 54 acres with stone structures stretching out across the area. They have discovered 15 pyramids so far, the tallest of which is over 75 feet in height. They’ve even discovered a couple of ball courts used in a Mayan sport that is not unlike basketball. The inclusion of such buildings indicate that this was an important city that likely had a population of between 30,000 and 40,000 people at its height.
Researchers are hoping that the city can provide some clues as to what happened to the Mayans. Ranging from 600 AD to 900 AD they were the dominant civilization in the region. But after that they started to decline very rapidly and it didn’t take long for the empire to collapse. Exactly why that happened remains a mystery.
The journey to find this lost city must have been like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. The team that made their way through the Yucatan jungles no doubt faced some serious challenges on their way to the site. Taking three weeks to cover ten miles must have tested their resolve at times but their persistence payed off and when they arrived in Chactun they were rewarded with an amazing find.
I continue to marvel at these stories and I love that we’re still discovering things like the city in Mexico and the one in Cambodia. I would love to be a part of either of these teams as they explore these ancient sites. Who knows what wonders they’ll uncover at either location and how they will impact our understanding of our ancient ancestors.