Friday, 10 June 2022

Lost Maya City Hidden In The Volcanic Lake Atitlán Explored By Underwater Archaeologists

Underwater archaeologists are exploring an ancient lost Maya city hidden inside a volcanic crater.

Hundreds of years ago, in the middle of Lake Atitlán, situated in the highlands of Guatemala, about 5,000 feet above sea level, a complex Mayan city was established.

People who lived in this thriving Maya city in the Late Preclassic period, 400 B.C. to A.D. 250, built magnificent temples, houses, squares, and constructed stelae. But then, suddenly, everything ended. The same waters that gave the city and its people nourishment caused it to sink.

Lost Maya City Hidden In The Volcanic Lake Atitlán Explored By Underwater Archaeologists
Credit: INAH

Experts think the catastrophe was caused by volcanic activity that resulted in the city’s collapse from its bottom, forcing the Mayans to flee.

The city sunk into the Atitlán’s depths and now lies 39 and 65 feet below its surface, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology.

The underwater archaeological mission, directed by the head of the Yucatan Peninsula Office of the INAH Subdirectorate of Underwater Archeology (SAS), Helena Barba Meinecke, sought to make the site visible through virtual and non-invasive technologies. One of the goals has been to promote its conservation and respect for its sacred character for the region’s indigenous communities.

To reach the underwater city, archaeologists carried out dives in the area.

During the dives, scientists uncovered the remains of buildings, columns, ceremonial stones, and other structures. From these findings, they could generate a planimetric map of the city.

Lost Maya City Hidden In The Volcanic Lake Atitlán Explored By Underwater Archaeologists
Credit: INAH


“With this planimetry, we can speak of a site that measures at least 200 by 300 meters,” Barba Meinecke said in a statement.

Based on previous archaeological work carried out by the Government of Guatemala, in which various ceramic and stone objects were recovered from Lake Atitlán, it is known that the archaeological site dates from the Mayan Late Preclassic period (400 BC–250 AD) and that It is submerged at a depth of between 12 and 20 meters.

In conjunction with this exploration, the team collected silt samples from the lake in order to understand the dynamics of the site and study the process of its subsidence over time.

Lost Maya City Hidden In The Volcanic Lake Atitlán Explored By Underwater Archaeologists


INAH collaborates in the exploration of a submerged Mayan city in Lake Atitlán, in Guatemala. ©UNESCO. Teddy Séguin.

It should be noted that currently, the archaeological site is preserved thanks to the vigilance of the inhabitants of Santiago Atitlán and the towns near the lake, in addition, irregular diving in it is prohibited by the Government of Guatemala.

Article source - https://www.messagetoeagle.com/lost-maya-city-hidden-in-the-volcanic-lake-atitlan-explored-by-underwater-archaeologists/

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