The remains of a vast Mayan palace have been uncovered in Mexico about 100 miles west of Cancun. Archaeologists believe that the building is over 1,000 years old. Alfredo Barrera Rubio, one of the lead archaeologists at the site, said, “This is just the start of the work. We are only just uncovering one of the largest structures on the site.”
The building is located in the ancient city of Kuluba in the Yucatan state. Kuluba was a key Mayan site that had links to the nearby cities of Chichen Itza and Ek’ Balam. The site was first discovered by American archaeologist Wyllys Andrews IV in 1939.
The palace is 55 meters long, 15 meters wide and six meters high. It appears to have been made up of six rooms and is part of a larger complex that also includes two residential rooms, an altar and a large round oven. Archaeologists have also uncovered a burial site containing human remains.
The Mayans dominated huge areas of Central America, creating an empire which flourished across what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. Their rise, rule, and fall stretched over several centuries, reaching its peak power and influence around the sixth century AD. The ancient Maya people used agriculture and metalwork and invented a complicated writing system involving more than 800 hieroglyphs.
Mayan society suffered a mysterious decline between AD800 and AD1000, about the time period the newly uncovered palace dates to. Scientists have suggested war, climate, disease, and politics as possible causes. Descendants of the ancient Maya people are still around today, many of them living in their ancestral homelands.