Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bonn archaeologists explore 1500-year-old Maya city

08.04.2002


Archaeologists of the University of Bonn have just begun the first of three series of excavation programmes in Xkipché on the Mexican peninsula of Yucatán. They are investigating the living conditions of the population shortly before the city was finally abandoned towards the end of the 10th century as well as the city?s role as the residence of local princes during the turbulent period of its decline.


What the "Palace" building discovered by Teobert Maler looks like today.
AG Prem / Uni Bonn



The location of the find is in the vicinity of the world famous ruined city of Uxmal (recently accorded the status of world cultural heritage site), and like Uxmal goes back to the classical and late classical culture of the Mayas, being inhabited from ca. 500 to 1000 A.D. The focus of the current excavations is smaller buildings with a C-shaped ground plan, which are regarded as a reliable indicator of the last large-scale settlement of the Puuc region of Yucatán. A second focus of this research project, which is mainly funded by the German Research Association, is to investigate the living conditions of the less prosperous sections of the population. The Xkipché Archaeological Project is the first research project in the north of the Yucatán peninsula to specifically focus on the peasant class in the late classical period of the Maya culture, whereas almost all the other archaeological excavations in this region have been predominantly concerned with the role of the local and supra-regional élites.

German exploration of the ruined city of Xkipché is about a century old: between 1886 and 1893 the explorer Teobert Maler visited approximately a hundred large and small ruined sites in the Puuc zone of the Yucatán peninsula, which he recorded in descriptions, drawings and photographs. A large number of these ruins were subsequently lost in the dense scrub of this impassable hilly terrain and was only rediscovered in the last few decades. Xkipché was one of these, which Professor Hanns J. Priem of the Institute of Ancient American Culture and Ethnology (IAE) was able to reach in 1989 after a great deal of effort. From 1991 to 1997 archaeologists of the University of Bonn excavated a palace complex there, which with its two storeys and over 40 rooms, some of which were still well preserved, was one of the biggest in the entire region.


At around 1000 A.D. leadership was taken over by a different section of the population, whose buildings can be distinguished, among other things, by their poor workmanship. Finally the region was abandoned for almost a millennium. As yet it is only possible to speculate as to the reasons for this. Possibly excessive strain on the natural resources by the traditional method of slash-and-burn cultivation may have been a factor, which presumably coincided with an extensive period of successive years of low rainfall. This had catastrophic effects on an area without expanses of surface water, where the population was dependent on storing water from the rainy season for their water supply in the dry season. However, research findings show that social upheavals as a consequence of local wars and social unrest also seem to be increasingly probable factors.

The Xkipché project is being carried out at the invitation of the Mexican government by the IAE, a university institute which is specialised in research into the ancient cultures of America. The excavation is envisaged as being purely for research purposes, with subsequent access to the site for visitors not being intended.

Prof. Hanns J. Prem | alphagalileo

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Fighting myocardial infarction with nanoparticle tandems
04.12.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Virtual Reality for Bacteria
01.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>