Researchers Find Previously Unknown Ancient Mayan City In Mexico Jungle

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Researchers have unearthed a previously unknown ancient Mayan city hidden within the jungles of southern Mexico, according to NBC News.

El Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) has discovered an ancient city believed to have been an important hub in the region nearly 1,000 years ago, NBC News reported. Located within the Balamku ecological reserve on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the city was discovered after researchers mapped a previously unexplored swath of jungle using LiDAR technology.  (RELATED: Ancient Mayan Cities And ‘Super Highways’ Revealed In Shocking Study)

The city, dubbed by researchers as Ocomtún, features large pyramid-like structures, three plazas with “imposing buildings,” stone columns and other buildings laid out in nearly concentric circles, the INAH said, according to NBC News. Based on materials extracted from the ruins, INAH researchers believe the city flourished between 250 and 1000 A.D., the outlet noted.

Lead archaeologist Ivan Sprajc identified a “core area” of the city, pointing out several pyramid-like structures towering nearly 15 meters high positioned on an elevated piece of ground surrounded by wetlands.

Archaeologists also discovered a ball court similar to those found at other ancient Mayan sites. The pre-Hispanic game, archaeologists believe, consisted of passing a small rubber ball across the court and into stone hoops without using hands, NBC News reported.

Altars were also found near the La Riguena river, though archaeologists have stated more research is needed to learn what types of rituals were performed there.