Ancient Mayan Canoe Discovered in Southern Mexico

A wooden canoe used by the ancient Maya was found at a freshwater pool known as a cenote. Photograph: INAH/Reuters

A wooden canoe used by the ancient Maya and believed to be more than 1,000 years old has turned up in southern Mexico almost completely intact, officials have said.

The extremely rare canoe was found submerged in a freshwater pool known as a cenote, thousands of which dot Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, near the ruins of Chichén Itzá, once a major Maya city featuring elaborately carved temples and towering pyramids.

Measuring a little over 5 feet (1.6 meters) in length and 2.5 feet (80 cm) wide, the canoe was possibly used to transport water from the cenote or deposit ritual offerings, according to a statement from Mexican antiquities institute INAH.

The institute described the extraordinary find as “the first complete canoe like this in the Maya area”, adding that experts from Paris’s Sorbonne University will help with an analysis of the well preserved wood to pinpoint its age and type.

A three-dimensional model of the canoe will also be commissioned, the statement added, to facilitate further study and allow for replicas to be made.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Reuters