4 More Reasons To Admire The Mayans

Even today the Mayan Culture manages to surprise us. Join us as we unveil the most recent findings of this incredible culture.

1.- Samabaj the sunken city

In 1990 the expert scuba diver Roberto Samayoa Asmus was exploring the vast Atitlán Lake in Guatemala when he noticed some strange characteristics in a few stones that must have been man made a few centuries ago.  He assembled a team of experts that helped him to find a lost Mayan city under the surface of the lake. They named it Samabaj (Sama, in honor of Samayoa, and “baj” that means rock in Mayan). It was until 1999 that the team had enough evidence of Samabaj, so they were able to report their findings to the Guatemalan minister.

Experts think that this city used to be on an island near the Cerro de Oro (Golden Mountain) volcano 2,000 years ago. The town was populated during the late Pre-classic (200 b.c and 200 a.c), because of its structure it might have been a small village. The city has altars related to the Mayan Culture. It also has a ceremonial plaza, housing blocks, corridors and a small staircase. Today the Anthropologic and History Institute of Guatemala (IDAEH) continues exploring this incredible site.

2.- The dormant secrets of Tikal

Using a new mapping technology called LiDar in the Mayan city of Tikal (Guatemala), considered one of the most important of Mayan structures, it was possible to find 60,000 unknown structures under this old ground. The investigators located a new pyramid under the city´s main square alongside new structures like roads, routes, and even farms. Before these colossal finding, experts thought that Tikal used to house 1 or 2 million inhabitants, but now they believe the real population was almost 20 million.

Read: What is the sacred mayan journey in Xcaret?

Due to the complexity of this newly found structures, experts think that the Mayan Culture was even more advanced. They believe the most important fact about this new findings is that the city is surrounded by a few hidden forts. This shines a new light on how the inhabitants of Tikal perceived war and their technological advancement.

3.- The ancient writers of Xultún

Dr. William Saturno was in the world´s spotlight on 2005, when he found the most ancient to date Mayan murals in the region of San Bartolo, Guatemala. Near this site lies Xultún, another Mayan site discovered in 1912 that still holds a lot of secrets. In 2010, one of Dr. Saturno´s students was tracking some grave robbers at Xultún when he stumbled upon a hut-like structure covered by jungle plants.

After uncovering the site, experts found that this hut was almost intact. Inside it was 2×3 meters wide. It had benches and murals where the “King of Xultún” was represented alongside some writing figures. This finding led experts to think that this hut was a meeting place for royal writers.

The most fantastic finding in this site was a Mayan calendar that went 7,000 years in the future, reaching the year 2012 of our modern calendar. Unfortunately, this calendar´s true meaning was misunderstood by the media, starting the “2012 End of the World” phenomenon. About this, Dr. Saturno thought that “Mayan People wanted things to stay the same, even 7,000 years in the future. They did not predict an end, but a continuity.”

4.- The underwater world of Sac Actun

In the famous region of Tulum (Mexico) lies the most significant underwater cave system in the world called Sac Actun. Only 347 k.m have been explored of this behemoth, it has so many cavities and connections in its entrails that it is believed the real length of the system is about 1,000 k.m. During more than 14 years, many expert divers have explored this underwater system, and their efforts have been rewarded.

They have found prehistoric fauna of more than 2.5 million years old. They have also stumbled with human remains, vases, walls and even altars tied with the Mayan Culture. In one of the ceramic remains, they found a representation of the Mayan God of Commerce, Ek Chuak. The task of exploring all the system is ongoing, and maybe it will take another 14 years to uncover all it´s treasures because now the caves have been connected to 248 Mayan sinkholes (cenotes)  that serve as an entrance to 198 archaeological sites.