A recent archaeological finding in the ancient Mayan city-state of Tikal in Guatemala may reveal new links between the Mayan and Teotihuacan civilizations. According to a report by National Geographic, researchers in Tikal have uncovered a building complex that reflects the architectural style of the ancient city of Teotihuacan, which was located near Mexico City, over 800 miles from Tikal.
National Geographic reports that the structure, which includes a pyramid and an enclosed courtyard, is believed to be a scaled-down replica of the Teotihuacan Citadel.
“We knew that the Teotihuacanos had at least some presence and influence in Tikal and nearby Maya areas prior to the year 378,” Edwin Román-Ramírez, the director of the South Tikal Archaeological Project, whose research has yielded evidence of Teotihuacan objects, weapons, and burials in Tikal, told the publication. “But it wasn’t clear whether the Maya were just emulating aspects of the region’s most powerful kingdom. Now there’s evidence that the relationship was much more than that.”[Read about some of the most significant archaeological findings of the 2010s.]
“What we’ve found suggests that for more than a century people who were at least very familiar with Teotihuacan culture and traditions were living there in their own colony, a sector distinct in identity and practicing the religion of Teotihuacan,” Román-Ramírez added.
The newly uncovered complex, which was analyzed using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, predates the year 378, during which there was a Teotihuacan conquest and takeover of Tikal. Many of the details surrounding this sudden invasion are unknown, but ongoing research focuses on shedding light on the relationship between the two civilizations.