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Mayan Discoveries at Uxmal and Chichen Itza

A team of archaeologists working in the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Puuc Hills of southern Yucatan has discovered traces of 150 different species of medicinal plants in the vicinity of the Palace of the Governor, pointing to the existence of herb gardens when the city was inhabited.

The herbs were found to the east of the Palace of the Governor and lower down the manmade platform that it crowns. This was a residential area for the nobility and Archaeologist José Huchim Herrera, Director of the Uxmal Archaeological Site, stated that his team has also found evidence of cornfields, bean and squash plants cultivated to feed the elite.

A total of 321 species of plant, more than 200 of which have medicinal uses, have been found throughout the archaeological site. Some of the herbs are still used today in the Yucatan to cure stomach disorders, ulcers, fever, sores and even as a remedy to draw out the poison from snakebites and the team is working with a Mayan herbalist and a botanist to identify and register them all.

Using electromagnetic resistance technology, geophysics experts have found an underground river below the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza, the Yucatan’s most famous Mayan city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hidden pool is in a chamber deep in the limestone, with 20 meters of rock between it and the pyramid’s foundations. Experts believe that it may have fed the other cenotes on the site, the Sacred Well and Xtoloc Cenote.