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Archaeologists discover ancient Mayan city at construction site

A view shows the collapsed roof that protected the "Casa de las Aguilas," part of the ruins of the Templo Mayor archaeological site, after heavy rain and hail, in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, April 29, 2021.

A view showing the collapsed roof that protected the “Casa de las Aguilas”, part of the ruins of the Templo Mayor archaeological site, after heavy rain and hail, in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, April 29, 2021. (Carlos Gasso, Reuters)

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CANACIEN, Mexico – Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas at a construction site for what would become an industrial estate near Merida in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Archaeologists said the site, called Sheol, features Mayan Poké style of architecture, which is common in the southern Yucatan Peninsula but rare near Merida.

“We think more than 4,000 people live here,” said Carlos Peraza, one of the archaeologists who led the excavations of the city, which is estimated to have been inhabited since AD ​​600-900.

“There were people of different social classes…priests and clerks who lived in these great palaces, and there were also commoners who lived in small buildings,” Peraza said.

The researchers also identified nearby graves of adults and children, who were buried with obsidian and flint tools, offerings, and other possessions.

Remains of marine life have also been discovered in the area, indicating that the townspeople supplemented their agriculture-based diets by fishing along the nearby coast.

Xiol was discovered after construction began on an industrial park. Its construction will continue, although archaeological remains are preserved, according to the owners of the land.

“Over time, the urban sprawl (in the area) has grown and many archaeological remains have been destroyed…But even we as archaeologists are amazed, because we did not expect to find a well-preserved site,” Peraza said.

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