Category: World / November 19, 2012 5:49 PM EST
Archaeologists in Mexico have unveiled the newly restored Mayan city of Dzibanche in Quintano Roo state, as experts look to return the crumbling ancient metropolis to its former glory.
Believed to have been inhabited until the 13th century, well past the so-called "Mayan Collapse" in which Mayan cities in Mesoamerica are thought to have largely been abandoned, the site features burial chambers and intricate murals dedicated to the Kaan dynasty, one of the most powerful ruling families of the ancient civilisation.
"The importance of this mural, its iconography, tells us of the legitimacy of the Kaan Dynasty in the classic period period of Dzibanche. This building in its interior has various burial chambers associated with people from the Kaan Dynasty. The iconography of the mural was in place at the time of the structure which also commemorated the presence of this dynasty," she said.
Dzibanche is surrounded by 40 square kilometres (15.4 square miles) of dense jungle, and is comprised of four separate parts: Dzibanche, Tutil, the Central Complex and the Kinichna Acropolis.
The first stage of the excavations at the vast site took place in 2008 and 2009. At that time, researchers believed the site had only been occupied until 900 A.C.E. However, restoration works at the site are revealing new insights into the ancient abandoned city.
"These buildings found within the complex of the mini acropolis reveals in their murals, facades and the interiors of its galleries, stuccoes with red colours, black," she said. "The main interest in working here is the conservation and restoration of these structures which are scarce in the Mayan area and above all else the type of this construction which are palaces with galleries, as you can see, that are very wide yet narrow at the same time. Our restorations have shown that the use of these buildings was that they were administrative areas."
Under the Kaan dynasty of the Classic Period (AD 250-1000), the area was at at its zenith. Researchers believe the city was one of the most significant political entities in the entire Mayan world.
The Maya were among the great ancient civilisations 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 civilisation largely abandoned its cities for unknown reasons around 900 A.C.E.