Archaeologists have found two ancient Mayan cities hidden in
the jungle of southeastern Mexico, and the lead researcher
says he believes there are "dozens" more to be found in the
Ivan Sprajc, associate professor at the Research Center of
the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, said his team
found the ancient cities of Lagunita and Tamchen on the
Yucatan peninsula in April by examining aerial photographs of
Sprajc said the two cities reached their heyday in the Late
and Terminal Classic periods (600-1000 AD). At each site,
researchers found palace-like buildings, pyramids and plazas.
One of the pyramids is almost 20 meters (65 feet) high.
They also found a facade featuring a monster-mouth doorway,
which probably marked one of the main entrances to the center
of the city. Photographs from the sites showed stone pyramids
jutting out from beneath dense foliage.
"The entrance apparently symbolizes the entrance to a cave
and to the underworld ... Someone entering through this
doorway would have entered sacred precincts," he told Reuters
by telephone from Slovenia on Friday (local time).
Sprajc said his team mapped 10-12 hectares (25-30 acres) at
each site, but the cities were probably larger. "We
elaborated a map but only of the religious and administrative
centers of the two sites," he said, "that's only like
His team has not yet excavated the sites.
"There are dozens of sites that I already have seen on the
aerial photographs," he added, noting that additional
discoveries depend on further funding.
Last summer, Sprajc discovered another ancient Mayan city,
Chactun, 10 km (6 miles) north of Lagunita and 6 km (4 miles)
northwest of Tamchen.