A group of archaeologists has discovered the ruins of an ancient Mayan city full of palaces, pyramids and plazas in a construction zone of what will be an industrial park in southeastern Mexico.
The site, called Xiol and located near the city of Merida, has features of the Mayan Puuc architectural style, archaeologists said, which is common in the southern Yucatan peninsula but rare near the town.
“We think that possibly more than 4,000 people lived here,” reported Carlos Peraza, one of the experts who led the excavation of the site, which is estimated to have been occupied between 600 and 900 AD.
“There were people from different social classes, there were people like priests, scribes (…) and there were also ordinary people who lived in small buildings,” he explained.
The researchers also located nearby burials of adults and children who were entombed with obsidian and flint tools, offerings, and other belongings.
Remains of marine life were also discovered in the area, suggesting that the inhabitants of the city supplemented their diet, based on agriculture, with fishing on the nearby coast.
Xiol was found after the construction of an industrial park began, which will continue to be built, although the archaeological remains will be preserved, according to the owners of the land.
“With the passage of time, the urban sprawl has grown and many of these archaeological remains have been destroyed, but (…) even us archaeologists are surprised because we did not expect to find such well-preserved buildings,” added Peraza.