Are archaeologists on the verge of yet another discovery of an ancient Mayan city?
News has been circulating around the international media for the last two weeks about the groundbreaking discovery of two long lost ancient Maya cities in the jungles of Mexico. Now, according to a news release in National Geographic, researchers believe they are getting closer towards revealing another marvel of the Mayas, this time in Guatemala – the long forgotten ancient city of Namaan.
“Under the town of La Florida in Guatemala, an ancient Mayan city sleeps—never before mapped or explored,” writes archaeologist Dr Joanne Baron in the National Geographic piece. “Untold historical treasures could still lurk under the feet of modern-day inhabitants”.
La Florida is located on the San Pedro River just upstream from the Mexican border and the site of the ancient city of Namaan is known to sit unexcavated in La Florida, in the modern town of El Naranjo. Now the National Geographic Center for Research and Exploration has sponsored research to explore the site with the hopes of beginning a large-scale excavation in the near future. This has the potential to reveal valuable information about the ancient Mayan inhabitants of the region, not to mention the abundance of precious artifacts which would have lain buried there for more than a millennium.
There are many ancient Mayan ruins dotted around La Florida, such as the above, but the ancient city of Namaan is so far unexcavated. Image source.
“The kingdoms of the Classic Maya once formed a web of alliances and rivalries that spread for hundreds of miles across the lowland jungles of Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico from around 250 to 900 A.D. One of these kingdoms was the ancient city of Namaan,” writes Dr Baron.
Dr Baron was involved in the initial exploration of the site of ancient Namaan. She discovered that most of it lies on protected municipal lands, while other sections, including what looks like the remnants of the residential sector of Namaan, could be found on a small piece of agricultural land that is surrounded by river and swamp. She also found monumental architecture arrayed along a large plaza in the middle of a newly planted cornfield.
A number of mounds are located in what is believed to be the residential sector of the ancient city of Namaan. Photo credit: Joanne Baron
Large mound in La Florida which is believed to have a small Mayan pyramid underneath. Credit: Joanne Baron
Dr Baron spoke extensively to the locals living in El Naranjo, La Florida, many of whom spoke of extensive underground tunnels throughout the region, which Dr Baron believes may be drainage features. Others related stories that had been passed down through the generations, such as the account of a crocodile made from gold that once stood in the main plaza. Dr Baron explained that only further research will finally reveal the truth behind these accounts.
Featured image: Reconstruction of an ancient Mayan city. Image source.