2 December 2021 The Future is the Product of the Past

Surprising Discovery: In Guatemala, archaeologists uncover hidden neighborhood in the ancient Maya city

A recent lidar analysis revealed, the region surrounding Central Tikal’s Lost World Complex, which was long thought to be a natural hill, is actually a 1,800-year-old destroyed stronghold.

Scientists have been excavating the ruins of Tikal, an ancient Maya city in modern-day Guatemala, since the 1950s, and Tikal has become one of the world’s best understood and most thoroughly studied archaeological sites as a result of those many decades spent documenting details.

However, a stunning new finding by the Pacunam Lidar Initiative, a research partnership led by a Brown University anthropologist, has ancient Mesoamerican academics all around the world questioning if they know Tikal, as well as they, think.

Using light-sensing and ranging software or lidar, Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology at Brown University, and Thomas Garrison, assistant professor of geography at the University of Texas at Austin, found that what had long been considered the nature area of ​​The Hills at a distance walking distance from downtown Tikal was in fact a neighborhood of ruined buildings that were designed to look like those in Teotihuacan, the largest and most powerful city in ancient Americas.

The results, including lidar images and a summary of excavation findings, was published today (Tuesday, September 28, 2021) in the journal Antiquity.

Filtered lidar highlighting the structures and quarrying. Structures in an ancient Mayan city thought to be natural hills are actually the ruins of buildings designed to look like those found in the powerful city of Teotihuacen
Filtered lidar highlighting the structures and quarrying. Structures in an ancient Mayan city thought to be natural hills are actually the ruins of buildings designed to look like those found in the powerful city of Teotihuacan. Photo: Antiquity

The lidar research, along with an excavation by a team of Guatemalan archaeologists led by Edwin Román Ramrez, has revealed fresh information and new questions about Teotihuacan’s impact on the Maya civilization.

“What we had taken to be natural hills actually were shown to be modified and conformed to the shape of the citadel — the area that was possibly the imperial palace — at Teotihuacan,” Stephen Houston said. “Regardless of who built this smaller-scale replica and why it shows without a doubt that there was a different level of interaction between Tikal and Teotihuacan than previously believed.”

The cities of Tikal and Teotihuacan were radically different areas, Houston added. Tikal, a Maya city, was fairly populous but relatively small in scale — “you could have walked from one end of the kingdom to the other in a day, maybe two” — while Teotihuacan had all the marks of an empire. Though little is known about the people who founded and governed Teotihuacan, it’s clear that, like the Romans, their influence extended far beyond their metropolitan center: Evidence shows they shaped and colonized countless communities hundreds of miles away.

Houston stated that anthropologists have known for decades that the two towns’ residents were in contact and frequently traded with one another for centuries before Teotihuacan conquered Tikal in 378 A.D.

Stephen Houston, a professor of anthropology at Brown University, and Thomas Garrison, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Texas at Austin, made the surprising  discovery
Stephen Houston, a professor of anthropology at Brown University, and Thomas Garrison, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Texas at Austin, made the surprising discovery

However, the latest lidar data and excavations by the study team show that the imperial authority in modern-day Mexico did more than merely trade with and culturally impact the smaller city of Tikal before conquering it.

“The architectural complex we found very much appears to have been built for people from Teotihuacan or those under their control. Perhaps it was something like an embassy complex, but when we combine previous research with our latest findings, it suggests something more heavy-handed, like occupation or surveillance. At the very least, it shows an attempt to implant part of a foreign city plan on Tikal” Houston said.

Excavations after the lidar work, directed by Román Ramrez, proved that certain structures were built with mud plaster rather than the typical Maya limestone, according to Houston. The structures were meant to be miniature copies of the buildings that make up Teotihuacan’s citadel, even down to the elaborate cornices and terraces and the complex’s platforms’ unique 15.5-degree east-of-north orientation.

Archaeologists discovered projectile points manufactured with flint, a material typically used by the Maya, and green obsidian, a material commonly used by Teotihuacan inhabitants, at a nearby, freshly unearthed complex of residential structures, providing seeming evidence of conflict.

The consortium’s ongoing research is authorized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Guatemala and funded by Guatemala’s PACUNAM Foundation, in partnership with the United States-based Hitz Foundation.

Published online by Cambridge University Press.

Banner
Related Post

The latest discovery at the villa Civita Giuliana, north of Pompeii, the remains of a slave room

7 November 2021

7 November 2021

Ella IDE Pompeii archaeologists announced Saturday the discovery of the remnants of a “slave room” in an exceedingly unusual find...

An unknown human group is revealed in a 7,200-year-old skeleton discovered in Indonesia

27 August 2021

27 August 2021

According to a study released this week, archaeologists uncovered the bones of a 7,200-year-old skeleton from a female hunter-gatherer in...

The Half of the Rare Oil Lamp Found in Jerusalem May be in Budapest

9 May 2021

9 May 2021

We had recently reported on a grotesque lamp found in Jerusalem. The other half of the oil lamp, which is...

Ushabti figurines on display at Izmir Archeology Museum

18 September 2021

18 September 2021

The 2,700-year-old “Ushabti” statuettes, discovered in archaeological digs in western Turkey and used in Egyptian burial ceremonies, are being shown...

The Largest Circular Tomb of the Ancient World Is Opening

16 February 2021

16 February 2021

The restoration of Augustus’ colossal tomb, which is expected to be opened in 2014, has been completed. The Augustus mausoleum...

New stone ram heads unearthed in Luxor, Egypt

15 October 2021

15 October 2021

Mustafa al-Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), recently announced the discovery of new stone ram heads...

Apocalypse Ship of the Vikings

26 April 2021

26 April 2021

Researchers discovered a stone boat made by Vikings and surprising gifts inside a cave in Iceland. Aside from the cave,...

Mystery ax discovered off the coast of Arendal of Norway

26 July 2021

26 July 2021

Researchers have discovered a find that could be a first for Norwegian archeology. A hollow ax, which researchers believe dates...

Archaeologists have unearthed an incredible hoard of over 300 Iron Age ‘potins’ in West London

17 July 2021

17 July 2021

Archaeologists at an HS2 construction site in Hillingdon, West London discovered an astonishing treasure of over 300 Iron Age ‘potins”....

Ancient Hippodrome, Subject of Ben-Hur Movie, Will Become “Arkeo Sports Park”

8 August 2021

8 August 2021

Ben-Hur, a wealthy prince living in Jerusalem, is a historical figure who struggled for the freedom of the Jews during...

Remains of a 12-year-old boy wearing a bronze warrior belt found in Pontecagnano

6 July 2021

6 July 2021

The remains of a 12-year-old boy wearing a bronze warrior belt were found at Pontecagnano, an outpost of the pre-Roman...

The Life of the Maya Ambassador Found in El Palmar was not Easy

18 March 2021

18 March 2021

El Palmar is a small plaza compound in Mexico near the borders of Belize and Guatemala. Archaeologists Kenichiro Tsukamoto and...

A Roman sarcophagus containing two skeletons was found in Bath, England

29 June 2021

29 June 2021

Stone walls, a Roman sarcophagus, and a cremation burial have been unearthed in a renovation project at the Bathwick Roman...

New discoveries announced at Sanxingdui Ruins

20 March 2021

20 March 2021

Chinese archaeologists announced on Saturday that some new major discoveries have been made at the legendary Sanxingdui site in southwestern...

Oldest found human traces on Roof of the World, Is it art?

21 October 2021

21 October 2021

Dr. David Zhang and his team’s investigations of Quesang on the Tibetan Plateau in 2018 and 2020 sparked controversy, along...

Comments
Leave a Reply

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