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Scientists at the University of Arizona discovered the monumental construction of the largest and oldest Mayan civilization known to date.
The find was made in an area known as Aguada Fénix, located in Balancán, in the state of Tabasco (southeast of Mexico).
The rectangular structure, built with clay and earth, was probably used formass rituals between 1,000 and 800 BC.
The scientists used the technology known as 'Lidar' ('Light Detection and Ranging'), which penetrates vegetation through laser beams and reveals any type of building under the ground, to estimate thatthe structure was about 400 meters wide by 1,400 long, with a height of between 10 and 15 meters.
«This is the oldest monumental construction found in the Mayan area and the largest in the entire pre-Hispanic history of the region.«, Said the researchers Takeshi Inomata, Daniela Triadan and Verónica Vázquez.
As Inomata explained, in Aguada Fénix rituals were performed that «involved processions along the esplanades and within the rectangular plaza«.
"People also deposited symbolic objects such as jade axes in the center of the plateau," added Takeshi Inomata.
The finding in Aguada Fénix, near the border with Guatemala, is of vital importance to understand the Mayan civilization, which contrary to what was known, had an initial stage with a less hierarchical society and with less inequality.
Theresearch was published in the journal Nature.