Two ancient Mayan cities have been discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, containing giant palaces and even a 65-foot high temple pyramid.
The discovery was made in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, hidden in jungle so thick that archeologists needed aerial photographs to find the sites.
The ancient Mayan cities were actually discovered in the 1970s by American archaeologist Eric Von Euw, but the site could not be found again.
“The information about Lagunita were vague and totally useless,” research leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, told Discovery News.
“In the jungle you can be as little as 600 feet from a large site and do not even suspect it might be there; small mounds are all over the place, but they give you no idea about where an urban center might be,” he added.
The ancient Mayan city was quite complex, Discovery News noted:
He also found remains of a number of massive palace-like buildings arranged around four major plazas. A ball court and a temple pyramid almost 65 ft high also stood in the city, while 10 stelae (tall sculpted stone shafts) and three altars (low circular stones) featured well-preserved reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
According to preliminary reading by epigrapher Octavio Esparza Olguin from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, one of the stelae was engraved on November 29, A.D. 711 by a “lord of 4 k’atuns (20-year periods).”
The lost Mayan cities also had a giant door carved into the shape of a monster’s mouth, which search leaders say likely represents the Mayan god of fertility of the land.
“These doors symbolize the entrance to a cave, and in general, to a watery world, the place of origin of maize and mythological abode of the ancestors,” said Sprajc.
More pictures from the ancient Mayan cities can be found here.