Video Credit: CEN/INAH
Archaeologists have discovered this 82-foot passage at a Mayan Governor’s Palace which is believed to be over 1,200 years old.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the government of Yucatan have reported new discoveries in the ancient Mayan cities of Uxmal, Chichen Itza and Kuluba, in Yucatan state, southern Mexico.
One of the discoveries was made by INAH specialists in the archaeological area of Uxmal where a 200-metre covered passage was found inside the Governor’s Palace.
It is believed to be from between 670-770 AD when the Puuc Temprano (Early Puuc) style was prospering.
The domed 25-metre (82-foot) passage is believed to have been built up to 200 years before the surrounding superstructure.
It was not found earlier as it had been covered along with its entrances as the superstructure was built around it.
Archaeologists Jose Huchim and Lourdes Toscano, Directors of the Uxmal project, said in a press statement that the passage changes the visual idea of the palace.
Toscano explained: “In Uxmal, the Temprano Puuc style, characterised by thin cuts in the rock and austere finishing touches, was covered over time by other constructions”.
Huchim added “this fact is important, as Mayans believed that buildings had a life, so that when they were useless, they were “killed” through a ritual. We do not rule out that in the floors of both accesses to the corridor we could find offerings confirming those complex ceremonies”.
He said that Mayans did not destroy buildings when they did not use them anymore, as they were used to build other buildings or graves.
A 3D scanner was reportedly used to check the preservation condition of the substructure.
Two Mayan arches were also found on the corners of the passage which are symmetrical measuring seven metres high and 2.5 metres wide.
The arches were built later than the passage during the Uxmal Tardio Style (Later Uxmal, 850-950 AD) whose main references are the Governor’s Palace and the Cuadrangulo de las Monjas (Nuns Quadrangle).
Toscano says the arches are proof that in the 8th century “Uxmal villagers built incredibly complex buildings”.
A mascaron of Chaac, the Mayan god of rain, and the remains of three stairs which provided additional access to the main building of the Governor’s Palace were reportedly also found.
Chaac was one of the most important gods in Mayan culture and was given offerings to provide rains for better harvests. The god lived in caves and natural wells, which were considered as the entrance to Mayan infraworld, Xibalba.
The project is in its second of five seasons.
In architecture, a mascaron ornament is a face whose function was originally to scare away evil spirits to stop them from entering the building.
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