The Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul in Mexico’s Campeche state have been named “mixed natural and cultural” World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
The World Heritage Committee added the two Mexican sites to the World Heritage List at its meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday.
This is the first mixed site in Mexico added by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, to its list, the INAH said. Read more.
As you read this article, a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers are busy methodically digging up ancient structures and artifacts at archaeological sites in Belize with names like Xnoha, Nojol Nah, and Tulix Mul. These sites contain the remains of ancient Maya settlements. The work is carefully planned, slow, and meticulously executed; and like any physical labor in a subtropical environment during the summer months, it can be sweaty, dirty, and tiring. For these students and volunteers, there is no monetary reward for this. They do it because of the excitement of discovery and the new knowledge it will generate about the life-ways of people who are long gone.
But this team is working against time. These sites, especially Nojol Nah, face the real possibility of destruction before the investigators can glean all of the information they need, and conserve what they can find. Read more.
Tough and tiny zircon crystals have helped researchers rule out an enormous volcanic blast as the source of ash used to make Maya pottery, deepening this long-running archaeological mystery.
"While we’re a little sad not to have solved the mystery, we’re really confident we can say the most likely source quite conclusively isn’t a match," said lead author Kevin Coffey, a geology master’s student at the University of California, Los Angeles.
However, the results did a reveal a tantalizing new pottery puzzle for scientists to solve — whether the Maya’s ash came from one volcano or many spewing cones. Read more.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have at last confirmed that the forest in Quintana Roo hides an ancient Maya urban centre covering more than 34 hectares, containing at least six architectural groups.
For people who lived in the area, El Paredón, a wall covered with creepers and roots, was clear evidence of an ancient city that had been “eaten” by the jungle.
The researchers could give the site no other name than what the locals called the area; Noh Kah, “Big City”. For two years, specialists from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) along with archaeologists from the INAH carried out detailed field collection of ceramic material and the topographic survey of the ancient metropolis. Read more.
The Alacranes Bajo, a low-lying, highly fertile and productive stretch of land which extends across Belize’s northwest corner and parts of Mexico and Guatemala, has been farmed intensively for centuries by the ancient Maya. Today is no different, with its modern inhabitants continuing to clear the land.
One would think that this is a good thing. After all, agricultural development feeds people and can raise many a family out of the misery of poverty. But progress, particularly in Belize and its Central American neighboring countries, often comes at a steep price, as locations and resources that represent critical cultural heritage and undiscovered history are lost to the bulldozer and other human tools for development, not to mention looting and inadvertent destruction caused by casual visitors. Read more.
Beneath the Guatemalan rainforests, hidden from mankind for more than a millennium, lie remains of the once vast kingdom of the Maya.
A pair of scientists from The University of Alabama in Huntsville will be in Guatemala next week to test whether a camera carried aloft by a tiny, battery-powered helicopter might one day help uncover lost Maya ruins.
Dr. Robert Griffin, an assistant professor of Earth system science at UAH, and graduate student Casey Calamaio will spend three days testing a multi-spectral camera during brief flights of a radio-controlled helicopter over Maya ruins at Tikal and Yaxha. They will use the images - similar to those from Landsat but in much higher resolution - to look for signs of the types of plant stress frequently seen in trees growing over archaeological sites in Central America. Read more.
COPÁN, Honduras — “We have to get you there for the ‘magic hour,’ ” said Bill Fash, peering through the spidery crack on the windshield of his old Ford pickup as he drove two visitors to the main Maya ruins in Copán.
The enchanted time of day at the majestic UNESCO World Heritage site comes at dusk, when the sun stretches its fingers across the massive Maya monuments and the lush valley floor. Encircled by mountains, the ruins contain an ancient world of buried secrets that members of the Harvard community and residents of Copán have been uncovering for decades.
As the long shadows receded into dusk, these primeval secrets seemed to hide once more. Read more.
El Pilar. The name means “watering basin”, reflecting its rich water resources. Spread across the border between western Belize and northeastern Guatemala, this ancient Maya city center is considered the largest site in the Belize River region, boasting over 25 known plazas and hundreds of other structures, covering an area of about 120 acres. Monumental construction at El Pilar began in the Middle Preclassic period, around 800 BCE, and at its height centuries later it harbored more than 20,000 people.
It thus may come as a surprise for many visitors when they actually see the site. Its immensity belies the view — for this city, unlike many of its well-known counterparts in Belize and Guatemala — sites like Tikal and Caracol — remains mostly cloaked in its dense tropical shroud. Read more.