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Maya Altar Found in Highway Work Zone was Dismantled
“Each stone has been registered, ready at any time when it is decided to rebuild it”.


MEXICO CITY.- Maya ceremonial altar recently found at the highway that communicates Merida, Yucatan with Campeche is in custody of Uman municipal authorities, waiting to be relocated where it can be appreciated by the public.

Archaeologist Eunice Uc Gonzalez, researcher at Yucatan INAH Center, commented that the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation are structuring agreements to will determine the place that guarantees its best conservation state.

The specialist in charge of archaeological work at Merida-Campeche highway extension, declared that dismantling the Prehispanic construction, integrated by 200 carved stones, has concluded, and that it presents a good conservation state. “Each stone has been registered, ready at any time when it is decided to rebuild it”.

Among possible locations for the altar, is the traffic island at the highway where it was found, or the beltway that is to be constructed. “I proposed those places because it fits perfectly in any of them”, she recalled.

The structure was located where the highway extension is to go through, and was in danger of being damaged by machinery. “This is why we decided to dismantle it and free the area so highway labor could continue”.

One of the most remarkable features of the Maya altar is that it is one of the few examples in Yucatan of this kind of architecture, which corresponds to Early Classic period (300-600 AD).

“When excavating the Tanil-Xtepen stretch of 180 Highway, the structure was found and named Structure 13 SUB”, pointed out the archaeologist.

These vestiges demonstrate there was a continue occupation from Late Pre Classic Period (250-300 AD) until Late Classic period (600-900 AD).

Archaeologist Eunice Uc explained Structure 13 SUB presents features of a ceremonial altar with architectural characteristics like a baseboard at the bottom, and a banquette on the front façade. It was built with 200 carved stones 10 kilograms each, and the body presents a pronounced batter.

With architectonic data and associated ceramics, the Maya altar has been dated in Early Classic period. Ceramic groups identified for this period were Maxcanu, Oxil and Xanaba.

Other findings are two humans skeletons, in a poor conservation state, a metate (grinder) used as filling to cover the structure on its last stage. Silex, limestone and flint artifacts, as well as mollusks, were also found.

“To present, we work in material analysis, and it’s important to remark results are preliminary”. Vestiges are part of 119 Archaeological Site, registered in the Yucatan Archaeological Atlas. “We are doing mapping and register of the zone”, concluded the archaeologist.

Archaeologists Raul Morales Uh, Fatima Tec Pool, Silvia Estrada Vielma and Eunice Uc Gonzalez, as well as 11 workers from Maxcanu, Yucatan, participate in archaeological salvage.






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