(ORDO NEWS) — An interdisciplinary team of scientists surveyed a flooded Mayan city found at the bottom of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Underwater archaeologists have found that this metropolis went to the bottom about 2000 years ago, probably as a result of a natural disaster.
The study was told by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico, whose employees took part in it. Underwater archaeologists and other specialists from Belgium, France, Spain, Argentina and Guatemala also took part in the study.
The objective of the mission is to create a photogrammetric model in order to gain virtual access to the site. By the way, it was first staged in 2001. However, only now archaeologists managed to get to work.
Difficulties were associated not only with the use of equipment, but also with the fact that this mysterious place is still revered by the locals as sacred. Work began only after the leader of the indigenous community gave special permission, and they were also preceded by a special ceremony – the modern Maya asked for blessings from the “ancestors inhabiting the flooded city.”
It is known from Maya legends that the city on Lake Atitlan existed in the late preclassic period (400 BC – 250 AD). It was located on an island, which was then swallowed up by the waters. A study conducted by underwater archaeologists showed that it was a large city with a complex structure.
It contained many residential buildings, as well as temples, squares, public buildings and powerful stelae. The city prospered until the waters of the lake suddenly swallowed it up.
In the course of previous preventive archaeological work, which the Guatemalan authorities carried out on their own, various ceramic and stone objects were raised from the bottom of the lake. According to them, it was possible to date the approximate age of the city, which coincides with the age from the legends.
The city itself is now at a depth of 12 to 20 meters. The conducted studies made it possible to map buildings, steles and other structures, creating a new planimetric map and remote sensing of a territory measuring 200 by 300 meters.
Silt samples were also taken, the study of which will allow us to trace the dynamics of the settlement of this area. Perhaps this will help scientists unravel the mystery of the death of the metropolis.
A popular hypothesis is based on the fact that Lake Atitlan is a volcanic crater rising more than 1500 meters above sea level. Probably, in ancient times, the island collapsed and sank to the bottom as a result of a natural disaster associated with an increase in volcanic activity. In a word, it was the local “Atlantis”.
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