13 Stories

Mayan Civilization Has Been 'Grossly Underestimated'

60K structures, including a pyramid, revealed in Guatemala

(Newser) - Only a handful of ancient Mayan temples rise above a dense jungle of trees in Guatemala. But what's obscured by the thick foliage, revealed for the first time, is evidence of a sprawling civilization to rival ancient Greece or China. Using LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging), which measures... More »

Maya Weathered One Collapse; the Second Proved Fatal

Hundreds of years apart, the collapses were eerily similar: study

(Newser) - The Maya civilization suffered "waves" of war and political instability before its collapse in the 2nd century. The civilization later recovered, but history would repeat itself just a few hundred years later, delivering a final blow, researchers explain in a PNAS study offering a clear chronology of the civilization'... More »

Archaeologists Make Surprise Find Under Mayan Temple

They find water tunnels, maybe in hope of helping ruler reach the underworld

(Newser) - When researchers grew concerned about underground anomalies detected near the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, they began a dig to figure out whether the pyramid was in danger of collapse. This week, researchers announced that what they found was no anomaly but rather a small canal system, reports the... More »

'Blue Hole' May Hold Secret to Mayan Collapse

Long drought may have led to civilization's collapse—and proof may be in sediment

(Newser) - Everything from overhunting and a peasant uprising to deforestation and an alien invasion has been proposed to explain why the Mayan civilization collapsed, Smithsonian notes. But one theory has been gaining ground in recent years: extreme drought. Now more evidence has surfaced to support the drought postulation—and the proof... More »

Another 'Lost City' Found, This One in Mexico

Chactun ruins include 15 pyramids, ball courts, altars

(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... More »

Ancient Mayans May Have Had Molé

Chocolate was used like a spice, new research suggests

(Newser) - Archaeologists say they have found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan peninsula, the first time they have found ancient chocolate residue on a plate rather than a cup, suggesting it may have been used as a condiment or sauce with solid food. Experts have long... More »

2nd Mayan Tablet Linked to 2012 Apocalypse

But some experts say: Don't worry about it

(Newser) - The bad news is that Mayan ruins make not one but two apparent references to a possible apocalypse in 2012 . The good news—maybe—is that Mexican archeologists say not to worry about it. Experts have finally confirmed that a second suspected reference to 2012 was found at the Comalcalco... More »

Mayan Calendar Doesn't Actually End in 2012

Sorry, apocalypse watchers

(Newser) - Good news everyone: the world will (probably) not end in 2012! The millions of people no doubt living in abject fear of the end of the Mayan calendar can breathe a sigh of relief, because the conversion of dates from the Mayan calendar to our calendar could be off by... More »

Eerily Preserved Tomb Yields Maya King

Royal ringed by dead babies, evidence of human sacrifice

(Newser) - Archeologists believe they have unearthed one of the only tombs ever discovered of a founder of a Mayan dynasty. Whoever the man in the extraordinarily well-preserved 1,600-year-old Guatemalan tomb is, he tried to take a lot with him to the afterlife, the Los Angeles Times reports. The tomb under... More »

New Tomb May Explain Mayans' Downfall

Archaeologists say clues point to rise of the Toltec culture

(Newser) - A newly discovered tomb from the twilight of the Mayans may offer clues as to why their civilization collapsed, Mexican archeologists say. Artifacts from the tomb are from the Toltec culture, suggesting that it was their rise instead of internal feuding or environmental degradation that doomed Mayan culture, the overseer... More »

Jewel of Maya Art Unearthed in Guatemala

Rare panels found in jungle city depict ancient legend of creation

(Newser) - Archaeologists reclaiming the Mayans' biggest city from the Guatemalan jungle have uncovered the oldest known depiction of the ancient civilization's creation myth, reports Reuters. The carvings depict the heroic twins of Maya legend emerging from the underworld surrounded by cosmic monsters. They appear on a pair of 26-foot-long panels at... More »

Dean Lashes Mexican Coast

Category 5 storm packs severe winds, but leaves no immediate deaths, damage

(Newser) - Tearing into history as the most intense Atlantic storm to make landfall in two decades, Hurricane Dean today pounded the Yucatan peninsula, battering Mayan ruins and swinging toward oil rigs, the AP reports. Pummeling homes and trees in sparsely populated, mostly evacuated areas, the fierce Category 5 storm shrunk to... More »

Hotel Snubs Nobel Laureate

Oooops: Five-star Cancun resort mistakes Rigoberta Menchú for beggar

(Newser) - Staff at Cancun's five-star Coral Beach Hotel had egg on their faces after trying to throw out a woman in indigenous Mayan garb, assuming she was a beggar or street vendor. Turned out the person they tried to hustle out of their lobby was Rigoberta Menchu—Nobel peace prizewinner, Unesco... More »

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