On the southern tip of Mexico, a gigantic extended structure almost one and a half kilometers long was discovered. Researchers say it is probably the oldest and largest Mayan site ever found. The find is located in the historical site of Aguada Phoenix in the state of Tabasco, off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The object is so large for its age that it forced archaeologists to reconsider their ideas about the architectural possibilities of the mysterious people.
Prior to this, the oldest Mayan ceremonial center was considered the ancient city of Seibal in Guatemala, dating from about 950 BC. Aguada Phoenix dates back to a similar time period. Researchers led by archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona believe that it was built between 1000 and 800 BC, but its size and scale make it unlike any structures from that period. The most striking thing is that this huge structure has been in plain sight for centuries, but has remained unnoticed by modern Mexicans living on the surface of the huge complex.
“This developed region, ” Inomata says, “is not a jungle, people live there. But this huge area was not found because it is flat and looks like a natural landscape. "
However, Aguada Phoenix was unable to hide from aerial photography. The Lidars discovered a platform of low embankments 1413 meters long from north to south and 399 meters from east to west, rising 15 meters above the surrounding area. Nine wide dams extend from the center, and further it is surrounded by smaller structures, including artificial reservoirs.
This site bears a certain resemblance to the Olmec architecture of San Lorenzo and La Venta in the nearby state of Veracruz. But the absence of anthropomorphic statues in Aguada Phoenix, which would depict people of high status and, therefore, talk about social inequality, indicates that it was the ancient Maya who inhabited the complex. The only stone sculpture found depicts an animal.