The oldest Mayan monument remains date from between 800 and 1,000 BC, thus surpassing the Ceibal ceremonial center (Guatemala), considered for its construction from 950 BC the oldest Mayan enclave to date.
An international group of archaeologists found the oldest and largest ceremonial structure in the State of Tabasco (Mexico) built by the Mayans known to date , a finding that reveals the importance of community work from the earliest moments of this civilization.
The Nature magazine published this Wednesday , the enclave, called Aguada Fénix, consists of a raised platform between 10 and 15 meters, which extends 1.4 kilometers from north to south, and from which nine wide carriageways emerge .
The remains, the researchers say, date from between 800 and 1,000 BC (BC), thus surpassing the Ceibal ceremonial center (Guatemala), considered the oldest Mayan enclave to date by its construction in 950 BC.
To reveal the age, the team used a laser light and distance detection (Lidar) system to distinguish the three-dimensional shapes from the archaeological remains, along with an “in situ” excavation and proof of radiocarbon dating of 69 samples.
” This area is developed, it is not the jungle; people live there, but this site was unknown because it is very flat and huge .
It just seems like a natural landscape.
But with lidar, it is discovered as a very well planned place,” he assured. University of Arizona professor Takeshi Inomata, one of the study’s lead authors.
The discovery, Inomata explained, marks a great change in the history of Mesomamerica and will have numerous implications. Built among many people and without clear indicators of marked social inequality, such as sculptures of high-status individuals, the monument suggests that community work was more important than was believed in the initial development of the Mayan civilization.
” It has always been debated whether the Olmec civilization led to the development of the Mayan civilization or whether the Mayas developed independently, ” Inomata said. The study, which focuses on a key area of interaction between the two communities, points out that Aguada Fénix was built during a period of power vacuum, a stage in which new ideas could be exchanged, such as constructions or architectural styles in various southern regions of Mesoamerica.
According to the researchers, the fact that constructions like this were carried out earlier than expected, when Mayan society presented a lower degree of social inequality than that recorded in later stages, will make the creation processes rethink. “It is not only hierarchical social organization with the elite that makes monuments like this possible,” Inomata said.
“This kind of understanding offers us important implications for the human capacity and potential of human groups. It may not be necessary to have a well-organized government to carry out these types of large projects. People can work together to achieve surprising results “he added. Archaeologists will continue research in the area and hope to collect more information in the future about residential areas near Aguada Fénix.