Another 'Lost City' Found, This One in Mexico

Chactun ruins include 15 pyramids, ball courts, altars

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 21, 2013 9:15 AM CDT | Updated Jun 23, 2013 6:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just a week after news broke of a "lost city" discovered in Cambodia, archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Mayan city among the dense foliage of the Mexican jungle. The team has dubbed it Chactun (meaning red or large rock), and says it's one of the largest to be found in the Yucatan's central lowlands. The numbers behind that claim: The 54-acre site would have once housed as many as 40,000 people, and evidence of 15 pyramids—one 75 feet tall—has been identified there. But the ruins don't end with those structures, LiveScience reports.

The remains of plazas, homes, altars, inscribed stone slabs, and ball courts were found; the ball courts in particular indicate it was a prominent city, though one that met its end around 1000 AD, the team leader tells Reuters. The search team first stumbled upon Chactun by way of aerial photographs taken 15 years ago; hacking their way through 10 miles of jungle took three weeks. The archaeologists spent six weeks exploring its secrets, and hope the find will offer clues on relationships between Maya cities—the closest known was 16 miles away.

A worker shows the remains of a building in the newly found Mayan city of Chactun.
A worker shows the remains of a building in the newly found Mayan city of Chactun.   (National Institute of Anthropology and History (NIAH))
Several sculpted stone shafts were found at the site in the Mexican jungle.
Several sculpted stone shafts were found at the site in the Mexican jungle.   (National Institute of Anthropology and History (NIAH))
A worker shows a building discovered in the newly found Mayan city of Chactun.
A worker shows a building discovered in the newly found Mayan city of Chactun.   (National Institute of Anthropology and History (NIAH))
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