Out in the middle of the Mexican jungle, in the southeastern state of Campeche, there has been an amazing discovery of ancient pyramid temples, palace remains, and a giant mouth doorway, revealing 2 Mayan cities.
Known as Lagunita and Tamchen, these 2 Mayan cities may hold the key to new information, as well as new questions about the Mayan civilizations that lived here long before us.
Back in 1970 one of these sights was discovered and drawn out by American archaeologist Eric Von Euw, which he called Lagunita. Although after the original discovery of Lagunita, researchers struggled to find the site again. Using aerial photography, modern day archeologists were finally able to identify the location with the wide-mouth door just this year. This style of doorway was very common during the late-Terminal Classic Rio Bec architectural period.
Ivan Sprajc and his team from the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts are responsible for finding the ancient cities back in April of this year. It was no easy task either, the team worked hard and found a lot of disappointment along the way. Original descriptions of the site were foggy at best, but when the team saw the doorway described by Von Euw’s drawings they knew exactly what they were looking at.
They didn’t just find the door, they also uncovered four major plazas surrounded by a variety of massive buildings, a court for playing ball, and a 65-foot pyramid. Some hieroglyphic inscriptions still remain intact, although many have since warped away.
Epigrapher Octavio Esparza Olguin, says that one engraving is marked with the date November 29, A.D. 711. The inscription was made by a ruler, highlighting that Lagunita must have been a place of power, although it remains unclear the relationship between Lagunita and the surrounding Mayan civilizations.
The other site Sprajc found in the area is being called Tamchen, which translates to “deep well.” This site may have gotten its name due to the 30+ chultuns found on site that served as a way to collect rainwater.
The chultuns (pictured below) at this site are surprisingly deep, reaching underground up to 13 meters. In Tamchen, archeologists have also unearthed a number of large buildings, temples, courtyards, and even a well-preserved sanctuary.
Back in 2013 another Mayan site was discovered about 1,800 square miles away. This city also was made with architectural styles reminiscent of the late and Terminal Classic periods, between 600-1000 A.D. Meaning who knows what else could appear out of the dense jungle. The Mayan tablet pictured below tells of power struggle within the region.
Mayan civilizations were highly sophisticated and large in population size, Maya cities have been unearthed in Guatemala, western El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and central Mexico. Perhaps what is most incredible is that they were able to build a city in the middle of the unforgiving rain forest.
The vast reach of the well-developed culture is still largely unknown. After all, today we are still uncovering ancient ruins left behind to tell the story of the Mayan people.
The discovery of these civilizations creates more questions than answers. Researchers are now wondering the actual extent of Maya culture and its relationships with others. By the year A.D. 900 most of the Maya stone cities were left abandoned. The artifacts left behind prove they were both skilled builders and deep intellectuals, although we still remain unsure what lead to their decline.
You might be wondering what has taken so long to uncover these giant artifacts, but out in the jungle you can be standing some 600 feet from an object and not be able to see it due to the thick foliage. Researchers are hopeful they may unearth many more cities within the area.