Category: World / January 18, 2013 4:13 PM EST
Archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered various Mayan 1,200 year-old burial grounds near the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza in southern Mexico.
Recent excavations to expand a highway revealed the latest archaeological find just 20 km (12 miles) from Chichen Itza.
Archaeologists found at least seven bones in rectangular graves, as well as some 30 ceramic pieces, pottery, plates, glasses, obsidian points, jade beads and seashell earrings at the Mayan site identified as Xtojil.
Officials will take them back to a lab for further analysis to determine the exact origins of the find.
Archaeologist, Marisa Carrillo, said the findings are important because they indicate a large settlement and an occupation period.
"The interesting thing about these burial grounds are the offerings found. The offerings mark an occupation period. The ceramic, the chronology and they make us realise these burials were important in that period because of the type of offerings used. We found, each burial contained two, three and even four offerings and in some cases, these offerings were imported, brought from other regions with glyphs and preserved pieces."
Estimated to date back to 600 to 800 C.E. before the peak of Chichen Itza's classical period, the burial sites reveals an important population of Mayan communities may have inhabited the region away from the ancient capital city, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a news release.
Archaeologist, Jose Osorio, said the settlers found here might have once lived in the larger cities.
"Normally burial sites of this type reflect on the lifestyle of the community who used to live in larger cities, the type of people who built the pyramids we have around us."
The Maya were among the great ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, building cities with elaborate ceremonial centres and soaring stone pyramids from modern day Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Although it dominated the region for some 2,000 years, the ancient civilization largely abandoned its citizens for unknown reasons around 900 CE.