the largest and oldest Mayan complex

The Maya civilization is one of the most mysterious and fascinating civilizations in the world. Until recently, the Ceibal site, which was founded in 950 BC It was built as the oldest ceremonial center of this civilization.

With the lidar remote sensing method, however, another, much larger area was discovered that is older than Ceibal. This site was discovered in the state of Tabasco near the Gulf of Mexico and named Aguada Fénix.

A Mayan complex dating from 1000 to 800 BC

The natural landscape of Aguada Fénix effectively hid a huge Mayan structure. To find out, the researchers sent laser beams over planes through the dense treetops, revealing an elevated platform 1,413 meters from north to south and 399 meters from east to west with a height of 15 meters.

This platform also has nine wide causeways, small structures, and man-made reservoirs that surround it. According to scientists, this complex platform probably dates from 1000 to 800 BC. BC, making it the oldest Mayan structure ever discovered.

They also argue that this complex may have been used as a ceremonial center and meeting place, but has only now been discovered because it was hidden under the feet of modern Mexicans living above this buried archaeological treasure.

The Mayans: a community without hierarchy?

The team of archaeologists, led by Professors Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan of the University of Arizona, said in their study published in Nature that, to their knowledge, it is “the oldest monumental structure ever found in the Maya region, and the largest in pre-Hispanic history of the region “.

A discovery that contrasts with the vertical dimensions of the Mayan pyramids. (Temple of the Group of the Cross at Palenque Mayan Ruins – Chiapas, Mexico) Photo credit: Shutterstock / Diego Grandi

They add that the artificial trays display a horizontal monumentality that contrasts with the vertical dimensions of the pyramids. The researchers point out that the structure of the Aguada Fénix is ​​similar to the motif of the Usumacinta Formatif Moyen, which is characterized by its rectangular shape and rows of low hills.

The 3000 year old site of Aguada Fénix is ​​the oldest and largest Mayan monument to be discovered. Https://t.co/ZiNJLcyB8p pic.twitter.com/JuVWaQTaWk

– New Scientist (@newscientist) June 5, 2020

In addition, archaeologists have reported the lack of statues in human form in this ancient colony. For them, this meant that society lived without an indicator of pronounced social inequality. The only stone sculpture they discovered was that of an animal.

In any event, researcher Inomata said that “this type of understanding has important implications for the human abilities and potential of human groups”. He adds that this ancient Mayan structure learns that “you don’t necessarily need a well-organized government to carry out such large-scale projects. People can work together to achieve amazing results. “