Researchers have uncovered a 1,500-year-old stucco mask of Maya ruler K’inich Janaab ‘Pakal. What differentiates this mask from others is it’s seemingly made in the king’s likeness.

Experts have discovered the largest, oldest Maya monument near Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

Researchers from the University of Arizona discovered the site of Aguada Fénix in Tabasco in 2017, but have just released details of the find.

The monument is 4,600 feet long and between 30 and 50 feet high, according to the University of Arizona website. It also encompasses nine causeways.

LONG-LOST MAYA CAPITAL DISCOVERED IN BACKYARD IN MEXICO

An international team of experts led by University of Arizona professors Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan made the discovery.

An aerial view of Aguada Fenix’s Main Plateau and the ramps connecting to causeways. In this photo, the site is viewed from the northwest.
(Photo: Takeshi Inomata)

The monument was found using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. LiDAR uses a laser to measure distances to the Earth’s surface and can prove extremely valuable to study what is hidden in areas with thick vegetation.

“Using low-resolution lidar collected by the Mexican government, we noticed this huge platform. Then we did high-resolution lidar and confirmed the presence of a big building,” said Inomata on the University of Arizona website. “This area is developed – it’s not the jungle; people live there – but this site was not known because it is so flat and huge. It just looks like a natural landscape. But with lidar, it pops up as a very well-planned shape.”

INCREDIBLE MAYA DISCOVERY: ANCIENT KING’S MASK UNCOVERED IN MEXICO

The site was then excavated and the archaeologists radiocarbon-dated 69 charcoal samples, which revealed it was constructed between 1,000 and 800 B.C.

Prior to this discovery, the oldest known Maya monumental site was Ceibal, which was built in 950 B.C., the University of Arizona explains. “This oldest monumental building at Aguada Fénix is also the largest known in the entire Maya history, far exceeding pyramids and palaces of later period,” it adds.

Part of the Aguada Fenix site being excavated by Melina Garcia.
(Photo: Takeshi Inomata)

The research is published in the journal Nature.

The find is the latest in a series of fascinating Maya discoveries. In a separate project, the capital of a long-lost Maya kingdom was recently discovered in the backyard of a cattle rancher in Mexico.

MAYA ARTIFACTS USED IN RITUAL SACRIFICES DISCOVERED AT THE BOTTOM OF SACRED LAKE

Last year, experts discovered a unique ancient tool in southern Belize that was used by Maya salt workers more than 1,000 years ago.

In 2018, an ancient mask depicting a seventh-century Maya king was discovered in southern Mexico.

Also in 2018, archaeologists harnessed sophisticated technology to reveal lost cities and thousands of ancient structures deep in the Guatemalan jungle, confirming that the Maya civilization was much larger than previously thought.

MYSTERIOUS LOST MAYA CITIES DISCOVERED IN GUATEMALAN JUNGLE

LiveScience reported that hundreds of Maya artifacts that may have been used in ritual animal sacrifices were also discovered at the bottom of a Guatemalan lake.

From its heart in what is now Guatemala, the Maya empire reached the peak of its power in the sixth century, according to History.com, although most of the civilization’s cities were abandoned around 900 A.D.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Climate crisis to AI: why firms and governments must change mindset

Firms and governments must increasingly internalise the possibility – indeed, I would argue, the overwhelming probability – of an acceleration of four secular developments that influence what business and political leaders do and how they do it. Decision-makers should think…

Invaders, allies, occupiers, guests: A brief history of U.S. military involvement in Iraq

For the past 17 years, the United States has maintained a military presence in Iraq. On Friday, Iraq’s prime minister asked the United States to send a delegation to discuss a mechanism for withdrawing U.S. troops. In response, the U.S.…

Doctors acquitted in first criminal euthanasia case

A Belgian court has cleared three doctors accused of murder in the country’s first criminal case concerning euthanasia. The doctors were alleged to have unlawfully poisoned 38-year-old Tine Nys in April 2010 because she did not fulfil the conditions to…

Kim Jong-un said his bond with Donald Trump was like ‘something out of fantasy film’ in one of the 25 personal letters sent between the two leaders, Watergate journalist Bob Woodward says in new book

Legendary investigative journalist, Bob Woodard, will be releasing a new book about Donald Trump that details the president’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, his thoughts on former presidents and his ‘love letters’ with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.  Sources familiar…