Archaeologists in Mexico find 1,000-year-old Mayan canoe
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Archaeologists in Mexico find 1,000-year-old Mayan canoe
A team of INAH underwater archaeologists found the pre-Hispanic vessel between the southern states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo in a cenote. Photo: Courtesy Oficina Península de Yucatán de la SAS-INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- A well-preserved Mayan canoe, estimated to be about 1,000 years old, has been found in Mexico during construction work on a major rail link, the country's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said.

A team of INAH underwater archaeologists found the pre-Hispanic vessel between the southern states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo in a cenote -- underground rivers that are common in the Yucatan Peninsula and sacred to the Maya people.

It was found during work on the "Maya Train", President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's controversial tourism project which is intended to link Caribbean resorts with ancient archaeological sites.

"The small boat could have been used for the extraction of water from the cenote or for the deposit of offerings during rituals," INAH said in a statement Friday.

It is the first canoe of this type so well preserved from the Mayan region, researchers said.

Previously, only fragments of these boats have been found in Guatemala and Belize.

The canoe has been initially dated to between 830 and 950 AD, but a November analysis, with the support of the University of Paris, will seek to determine its age and wood type, INAH said.

In Mexico, where several pre-Hispanic societies such as the Aztecs and the Maya flourished, archaeological finds are common.

In September, the remains of a staircase were found in a pyramid in the Xochitecatl Archaeological Zone.

In January this year, authorities said that more than 8,000 archaeological objects had been found in the first four sections of the Maya Train's construction.

© Agence France-Presse

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