Published On: Thu, Jun 5th, 2014

Ancient Mayan City ‘Chactún’ was discovered one year ago in Campeche

Share This

Deep in the jungles of Campeche, Southeast Mexico, a team of Mexican and foreign experts from the National Geographic Society and the National Institute of Anthropology and History, headed by Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Sprajc, made a major discovery in June 2013.

A whole ancient Maya city, complete with signs of pyramids, remnants of palace buildings and ball courts. This hidden archeological gem, named Chactún (which means “red stone” or “great stone”) was described by the country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History as one of the most important archeological breakthroughs recently encountered in México.

It’s a total gap in the archeological map of the Maya area,” Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Sprajc, who led the team, said in a taped interview in Spanish.

Though the site, which dates between AD 600 and 900, remained undocumented amid the more than 80 other Maya sites that have been discovered in the area since 1996, it covers roughly 54 acres in the southeast of Campeche.

“It’s a total gap in the archeological map of the Maya area,” (Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Sprajc)

“It’s a total gap in the archeological map of the Maya area,” (Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Sprajc)

That’s a big enough area to have been a government center, and one of the largest in the central lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula, one of the largest in the central lowlands of the Yucatan Peninsula, according to Reuters.

The site is bedecked with altars and decorative stone slabs, called steles. An inscription on one of the steles inspired the archaeologists to name it Chactún, officials said.

By conducting a topographic survey, the researchers were able to reconstruct Chactún in its three-dimensional glory. Sprajc pointed to the long buildings of what appeared to be a palace as an indication.


“We have various pyramids and the buildings that predominate here are long, evidently palatial buildings,” Sprajc said, “though at the moment we still cannot say whether they were homes of the elite, or administrative buildings — we can’t say much about their function.”

INAH handout photo shows a sculpted stone shaft called stelae at the newly discovered ancient Maya city Chactun in Yucatan peninsula

The research was supported by the institute and also funded in part by the National Geographic Society.


Mexico Travel Care




Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>