Chichén Itzá rediscovered: the famous Mayan city is much older than we thought

An underground discovery has fundamentally changed the history of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

By Alejandro Ruelas

Nov 20, 2019
Chichén Itzá Observatory. Image by Andreas Schau from Pixabay

Earlier this year, a team of scientists stumbled upon a fantastic discovery. In a cave deep inside the earthy bowels of Chichén Itzá, they came upon a find that contained ancient artifacts. These, they suspected, long preceded the age of the city above them and could potentially have a monumental impact in our understanding of history.

They were right. After the team of archeologists lead by researcher Guillermo de Anda analyzed the materials they found, their conclusion was inevitable: Chichén Itzá is 400 years older than previously thought.

Carbon data analysis showed some of the ceramic objects recovered date from around 100 a.D. This means the famous Mayan city, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, may have been founded four centuries earlier than the previously thought.

Chichén Itzá, The Castle.
Chichén Itzá, The Castle. Image by MarkgCap from Pixabay.

This discovery scratches the previous calculation, which estimated the city was founded around 525 a.D. Furthermore, it means the power and social dynamics of the pre-Hispanic world could have been very different from what scientists thought.

The history-changing artifacts were found in a relatively well-known passage called Balamkú, a cave system located 3 km east of El Castillo, Chichén Itzá’s iconic pyramid. “We also found human bones where there were thought to be no burials at all. We are now waiting better documenting and waiting to see if they were part of a funerary ritual or a human sacrifice”, said De Anda.

Guillermo, director of the Great Mayan Aquifer Project will present his team’s conclusions in the first Archeology Colloquium of the Mayan Aquifer this month.

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