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About The Ancient Maya City

Context:

Archaeologists in Mexico have made a significant discovery in the dense jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula, uncovering the remains of an ancient Maya city.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Findings Related to the Ancient Maya City
  2. Maya Civilization

Major Findings Related to the Ancient Maya City:

Expedition and Discovery:

  • The National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) led the expedition to Ocomtún.
  • Airborne laser scanning was used to identify pre-Hispanic structures in the region.
  • Ocomtún, meaning “stone column” in Yucatec Maya language, was a prominent city in the central lowland region of the Yucatan Peninsula between 250 and 1000 AD.

Unique Settlement Pattern:

  • The discovery revealed an elevated terrain surrounded by wetlands, indicating a distinctive and strategic settlement pattern.

Inhabitation and Rituals:

  • Pottery fragments suggest that Ocomtún was inhabited during the Late Classic period (600-900 AD).
  • The site was located near the La Riguena river, possibly used for community rituals.
  • Central altars indicate the presence of community rituals, emphasizing the spiritual and communal aspects of Maya life.

Maya Ballgame:

  • The Maya ballgame was played in the region, representing a significant religious practice.
  • The game involved passing a rubber ball, symbolizing the sun, through a stone hoop without using hands.

Period of Change:

  • Ocomtún likely experienced significant changes between 800 and 1000 AD.
  • This period coincided with the decline and collapse of the Lowland Maya civilization, characterized by population decline, urban center deterioration, and political instability.
  • The fall of Ocomtún and other Maya cities reflected a larger regional collapse, marking a transformative phase in Maya history.

Maya Civilization:

  • The Maya are indigenous people who inhabited Mexico and Central America, with their origins in the Yucatán region.
  • They emerged as a prominent civilization around 250 CE in southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize, and western Honduras.
  • The height of Maya culture, known as the Classic Period, lasted until about 900 CE.
  • The Maya civilization was highly advanced and influential in various fields.
  • They developed sophisticated systems of writing, astronomy, mathematics, art, architecture, and religion.
  • Maya cities featured impressive structures such as pyramids, palaces, temples, and plazas.
  • Despite their remarkable achievements, much about their history and culture remains enigmatic and still a subject of ongoing research and exploration.

-Source: Indian express


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