Hot on the heels of the news of a lost city being discovered in Cambodia comes word that another ancient city has been unearthed, this time in the Yucatan region of Mexico. A few days back, a team of archaeologists announced that they had located a large site that has been covered by thick jungle foliage for centuries. Underneath all of that growth sat a city that was once a part of the Mayan Empire.
The team, which is led by Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Sprajc, call the city “Chactun” and believe that around 600 to 900 A.D. it was one of the largest in the Yucatan. So far, the site stretches out across more than 54 acres and includes 15 pyramids, the tallest of which is 75 feet in height. At its peak, the ancient city was likely home to as many as 40,000 people, although its population likely declined very quickly as the empire crumbled.
The city was first spotted in a series of aerial photographs and an expedition was eventually organized to travel to the site to examine it first hand. The team spent three weeks cutting their way through the dense jungle, carving a 10-mile trail in the process. Although they’ve only just begun to uncover the various buildings and other structures, what they’ve seen so far leads them to believe that Chactun will be an incredibly important find.
Historians and archaeologists have long struggled to explain what exactly happened to the Maya. At the peak of their civilization their empire stretched across the entire Yucatan, into southern Mexico and continuing on to Central America, all the way to Guatemala and Honduras. But at the height of its power, the empire suddenly and unexpectedly fell into a speedy decline, becoming just a footnote in history. This lost city could hold clues that can help unravel that mystery, as well as provide important insights into day-to-day life of the Mayan citizens.