Construction crews found the remnants of an ancient city while they were building a new industrial park near Merida in 2015. Today, archeologists in Mexico believe the ruins were once a booming Maya community comprising more than 4,000 inhabitants.
According to different research, the pre-Hispanic city on the Yucatan Peninsula was established between 600 and 900 C.E., which makes it between 1,100 and 1,400 years old. Since its original name is unknown, the archeologists working on the site named it Xiol, which translated from the Mayan language means “spirit of man.”
Xiol Was a Highly Developed City for Its Time
The remnants of the ancient Maya city feature palaces, pyramids, plazas, and a cenote. The presence of these structures indicates that the community was home to a diverse population that included priests, scribes, dignitaries, and other residents who most likely farmed the nearby lands and fished along the coast.
The discovery is extremely important because many other archeological sites have been destroyed by the expansion of the Katalin municipality. Xiol is expected to welcome its first visitors in centuries as local authorities are planning to open the site to the public.
Carlos Peraza Lope, the archeologist who surprised the excavation of the pre-Hispanic Maya city, shared in an interview that he and his colleagues were surprised and excited by Xiol because they didn’t expect to find a site so well preserved.
The Maya Architecture Isn’t Typical for the Region
Many of the buildings are built in the Puuc style of Maya architecture, meaning they are richly decorated and feature beautifully ornate exteriors. This is uncommon because Puuc-style structures are typically found in the southern parts of Mexico and are almost non-existent around Merida.
The discovery of Xiol is expected to shed more light on Mayan culture and history. It will also most likely become another highly popular tourist attraction in Mexico.