Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1400+ Year Old Mayan Fountain Uncovered

Okay - is this planned?  When, exactly, is the latest Pirates of the Caribbean due in theatres - the one that has to do with the search for the Fountain of Youth???  [Cue spooky music from ...] is this a conspiracy of the Disney kind???

Well, maybe I'm just letting my imagination run wild...

This is a fascinating find - and it's about damn time the architects of the New World get the same kind of acclamation that those in the Old World routinely receive.

Mar 08, 2010
Maya fountain unearthed by archaeologists
Add plumbing to the mysterious arts of the ancient Maya, investigators report. In a Journal of Archaeological Science study, anthropologist Kirk French and civil engineer Christopher Duffy of Penn State report on a conduit designed to deliver pressurized water to Palenque, an urban center in southern Mexico, more than 1,400 years ago.

"The ancient Maya are renowned as great builders, but are rarely regarded as great engineers. Their constructions, though often big and impressive, are generally considered unsophisticated," say the study authors. However, they add, "(m)any Maya centers exhibit sophisticated facilities that captured, routed, stored, or otherwise manipulated water for various purposes."

Palenque, founded around 100 A.D., grew to some 1,500 temples, homes and palaces by 800 A.D., under a series of powerful rulers. "With 56 springs, nine perennial waterways, aqueducts, pleasure pools, dams, and bridges – the city truly lived up to its ancient name, Lakamha' or "Big Water"," says the study.

Excavations reveal the 217-foot-long, spring-fed "Piedras Bolas" aqueduct underneath Palenque was designed to narrow at its end, producing a high-pressure fountain. It's the first example of deliberately-engineered hydraulic pressure in the New World, prior to the arrival of the conquistadors in the 1,500's. Now eroded, the conduit dates from 250 A.D. to 600 A.D.

"Palenque is unique in that it is a major center where the Maya built water systems to drain water away from the site," says archaeologist Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois, by email. Most Maya centers stored water in reservoirs for the winter dry season. "Palenque, thus, is a unique site; we would not expect to find such water systems elsewhere. That said, there is lots of lit on the different kinds of water systems. For example, all centers with large plazas have drainage systems to keep the plazas dry during rain. "

The conduit lay underneath several households and could have stored water during the dry season, suggest the study authors. Another possibility, the conduit's flow may have, "created the pressure necessary for an aesthetically pleasing fountain, and perhaps served as an aid in the filling of water jars."

Archaeologists may have missed such technology elsewhere, concludes the study, not giving the ancients enough credit. " It is likely that there are other examples of Precolumbian water pressure throughout the Americas that have been misidentified or unassigned. The most promising candidate being the segmented ceramic tubing found at several sites throughout central Mexico," they suggest.

By Dan Vergano

2 comments:

Isis said...

I hate to think of how much Mayan history, art, and technology has been hidden away or destroyed. The Jesuits had a massive weenie roast fueled by the burning of the Mayan Codexes. Only a few codexes remain and they are locked away.

The Mayan were far better mathematians then the Old World Arithmetics, the Mayans had zero, where as the limited Roman Numerals with no zero.

Astronomy and calendars were superior too. The Mayans had detemined that there were 365 days in a year.

The Mayan even knew how to carve Jade. They also traded throughout the Americas.

The Cherokee are believed to be related to the Mayans.

A Fasinating culture.

Isis

Jan said...

Hi 'Sis,

It is an unfortunate tendency of conquerors to destroy as much as they can of the conquered civilization so there will be a loss of national identity and will to fight through humiliation, deprivation and destruction of knowledge. It was done everywhere in the ancient world, the not-so-ancient world, and is still being done today (and not by the Americans, as much as people like to point the finger at the USA). Recent and ongoing examples include the Chinese with Tibet and the Jews versus the Palestinians, who delight in chopping down each other's olive trees. It is a macho-macho game played in a world run by the dudes for the dudes and only for the dudes. Unfortunately, the gaming pieces are the lives of countless women, children and the Earth herself. This is what the world's so-called "great" religions (with the possible exception of Buddhism) have yielded to humankind and Mother Earth.

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