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Archaeologists Uncovered An Ancient Circular Structure In The Jungles Of Mexico That Might’ve Been Used By A Mayan Cult For Worship About 1,000 Years Ago

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Deep in the jungles of Mexico, archaeologists have discovered an ancient circular structure that may have been used by a Maya cult for the worship of a major serpent deity 1,000 years ago.

The building was excavated by a team of researchers with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) at an archaeological site called El Tigre in the state of Campeche in the Yucatán Peninsula.

El Tigre was occupied by Indigenous peoples more than 2,000 years ago. It grew to become a regional capital bustling with activity for the Chontal Maya civilization.

The long history of occupation at the site ended with the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century.

Archaeologists believe that El Tigre is linked to an ancient Maya settlement known as Itzamkanac, which worshipped the feathered serpent god Kukulcán. The circular structure was most likely a temple to this deity.

According to the INAH, the serpent god is represented in many Mesoamerican religions across several different ancient cultures and is the equivalent of Quetzalcóatl, a wind god in Aztec mythology.

The structure found at El Tigre consisted of two floors and is thought to have supported a flat roof. It was probably used to hold religious ceremonies and to store offerings. Its circular shape is similar to other buildings that have been found across the Yucatán Peninsula.

“In the Maya area, circular structures have been interpreted as being associated with the wind since this design may reflect the intention of making them aerodynamically accommodating for the winds of the god they are dedicated to,” said Adriana Velázquez Morlet, director of the INAH center.

The structure belongs to a time period in which the ancient Maya settlement had strong connections to other communities in the surrounding area, such as central Mexico, Oaxaca, and the Gulf Coast. This explains how certain religious beliefs and practices were able to spread throughout the region.

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