BYU researchers have dug up new evidence from an ancient Maya city that may help solve the mystery of just how many people lived in the civilization.
Using soil chemistry, combined with advanced remote sensing and satellite imagery, the researchers have pinpointed for the first time where Maya farmers in Tikal, Guatemala, carried out some of their most significant crop production.
The location of the prime farmland indicates that the Maya population at Tikal may have been much different than previously thought.
"Our soil analysis is finding that Mayas did not grow maize heavily on the hillsides, but rather along the borders of the low-lying wetlands called bajos," Read more.
You think you have interesting work, and indeed you may, but chances are it doesn’t involve hieroglyphs, fieldwork at a Belize geological site, a 2,000-year-old stalagmite or coordinating a team of diverse experts across oceans to help solve a centuries-old mystery that may hold important lessons for us today.
But if this work, which is that of environmental archaeologist Douglas Kennett, sounds a little bit like Indiana Jones, it is in fact, often a slog. For his late 2012 published research related to the role of climate in the collapse of the Classic Maya (300 to 1000 C.E.), his team extracted and analyzed thousands of samples from a 2,000-year-old stalagmite. Read more.
The oldest ancient Maya ceremonial compound ever discovered in the Central American lowlands dates back 200 years before similar sites pop up elsewhere in the region, archaeologists announced today (April 25). The recently excavated plaza and pyramid would have likely served as a solar observatory for rituals.
The finding at a site called Ceibal suggests that the origins of the Maya civilization are more complex than first believed. Archaeologists hotly debate whether the Maya — famous for their complex calendar system that spurred apocalypse rumors last year — developed independently or whether they were largely inspired by an earlier culture known as the Olmec. The new research suggests the answer is neither. Read more.
The ancient Maya used a vivid, remarkably durable blue paint to cover their palace walls, codices, pottery and maybe even the bodies of human sacrifices who were thrown to their deaths down sacred wells. Now a group of chemists claim to have cracked the recipe of Maya Blue.
Scientists have long known the two chief ingredients of the intense blue pigment: indigo, a plant dye that’s used today to color denim; and palygorskite, a type of clay. But how the Maya cooked up the unfading paint remained a mystery. Now Spanish researchers report that they found traces of another pigment in Maya Blue, which they say gives clues about how the color was made. Read more.
Here’s one more reason to be glad those 2012 Maya doomsday worries didn’t pan out — Maya scholarship, thankfully, just kept on going.
An international archaeology team, for example, reports that a well-known Maya ruin site had its origins further back in time than anyone first supposed. Nestled in the hilly interior of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the ruin of Kiuic turns out to boast a pyramid of surprising antiquity, dating back to 700 B.C., as shown by carbon dating. Long seen as a transitional corridor between the ancient Maya cities of Central America and the later ones of the Yucatan coast, the hilly “Puuc” region that is home to Kiuic and other sites, instead, looks like a longtime home of the vanished culture. Read more.
A polychromatic stucco mural, referring to one of the oldest Mayan dynasties of the important city of Dzibanché, in Quintana Roo is one of the latest findings which reveals that it was inhabited well into the 13th century CE, and not the 11th century CE when it was believed the cities of the Lowlands were completely abandoned during the “Maya collapse“.
This important find comes after study was resumed by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) after the death of archaeologist Enrique Nalda (1936-2010) who worked extensively on the ancient Maya city.
During his last season there he found human remains and a large number of offerings including a bone artifact carved with a scene of human sacrifice, greenstone jade along with obsidian artifacts. Read more.
With chatter about the Mayan apocalypse intensifying as Dec. 21 approaches, you may have seen that while the ancient Mayan calendar “ends” on that day, the Maya themselves would not have seen that as the end of the world. But how does the Mayan calendar work, anyway?
It’s not as confusing as it might seem. The ancient Maya kept time in a very different way than we do today, and their hieroglyph-heavy calendar can seem daunting at first glance. But the basic principle is simply that the Maya were counting the days.
"That’s somewhat different from our own calendar, which is really tied to the length of the solar year," said Walter Witschey, an archaeologist and Maya expert at Longwood University in Virginia. Read more.
London, August 3 (ANI): 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.
The discovery announced this week by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History expands the envelope of how chocolate may have been used in ancient Mexico.
It would also suggest that there may be ancient roots for traditional dishes eaten in today’s Mexico, such as mole, the chocolate-based sauce often served with meats.
"This indicates that the pre-Hispanic Maya may have eaten foods with cacao sauce, similar to mole," the anthropology institute said.
The traces of chemical substances considered “markers” for chocolate were found on fragments of plates uncovered at the Paso del Macho archaeological site in Yucatan in 2001. Read more.