Bigger than Great Pyramids, Maya Civilization’s largest and oldest structure discovered

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Bigger Than Great Pyramids Maya Civilizations Largest And Oldest Structure Discovered - We The World Magazine
Photo by Matthew Essman on Unsplash

A colossal elevated and rectangular artificial plateau built between 1000-800 BC has been discovered in Aguada Fénix near the Guatemalan border, making it the oldest and the largest known structures of the ancient Maya Civilization. So big that it exceeded the dimensions of the Pyramids of Egypt.

According to a paper published in the journal Nature, the massive structure was discovered by scientists using an ariel, remote-sensing method, which is said to have been built between 1000 to 800 BCE in Mexico’s Tabasco state. Unlike other existing Mayan architectures that are made of clay or earth, the newly discovered site is full made of stone, scientists told on Wednesday this week.

“To our knowledge, this is the oldest monumental construction ever found in the Maya area and the largest in the entire pre-Hispanic history of the region,” researchers write in the paper titled “Monumental architecture at Aguada Fénix and the rise of Maya civilization.”

One of Maya Civilization’s most extensive architectures, the massive step pyramids in Chichén Itzá, México (Photo by Max Böhme on Unsplash)

The huge platform measures a quarter-mile wide (400m) and 1,400 meters long and stands 33-50 feet tall. In total, the dimensions dwarf the Great Pyramids of Egypt built another 1500 years before. The newly discovered structure was built 1,500 years before the famous Maya pyramids in Tikal in Guatemala and Palenque in Mexico.

Describing what it would feel like to experience the colossal structure in real-life, archaeologist Takeshi Inomata from the University of Arizona says: “Because it is so large horizontally if you walk on it, it just looks like a natural landscape. But its form comes out nicely in lidar.” Lidar, short for Light Detection and Ranging is the imaging technique used to trace the structure.


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The onset of the Maya Civilization is still a debatable topic. The civilization reportedly reached its peak and prosperity in the 6th Century AD. Some of the excellent fortes of the ancient civilization are hieroglyph writing, architecture, pottery, agriculture, mathematics, and astrology.

The famous 2012 end of the world prophecy was tied with a calendar of this civilization. On December 23rd, 2012, a long-form Mayan calendar can to an end (beginning of another), and rumors started to connect the already prevailing end of the earth rumor with it, NASA clarified.

(Cover image for representational purpose only)