A general view shows the cleaning the stucco of the Temple of the U, located in the archaelogy area of Kuluba, in Tizimin, Yucatan state, Mexico in this handout photograph released to Reuters by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) on December 24, 2019. (Credit: National Institute of Anthropology and History, Reuters
A lost Mayan palace likely used by the ancient civilization’s most elite citizens has been unearthed.
The structure was found near Mexico’s popular resort city of Cancun and was last used around 1,000 years ago.
Archaeologists found the palace during a dig at the ancient ruined city of Kuluba, in the Yucatan state.
The building itself is six meters (20 feet) tall, 55 meters (180 feet) long and 15 meters (49 feet) wide.
It’s believed that the structure was used over two separate Mayan periods, dating as far back as 600 AD.
“This work is the beginning,” said archaeologist Alfredo Barrera, speaking to Reuters.
“We’ve barely began uncovering one of the most voluminous structures on the site.”
The Mayans dominated huge areas of Central America, creating an empire long before the arrival of Spanish conquerors.
Their rise, rule and fall stretched over several centuries.
This particular palace was possibly used during the Late Classic period (600-900 AD) and the Terminal Classic period (850-1050AD), according to experts at the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Kuluba, where the palace was found, was a key Mayan site that had links to the nearby cities of Chichen Itza and Ek’ Balam.
Experts are examining several structures at the site, including an altar, two homes and a round oven.
There’s also talk of a plan to reforest parts of the area, due to concerns over damage from wind and sun.
The site was first discovered by American archaeologist Wyllys Andrews IV in 1939.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.