Specialists found the pre-Hispanic remnants using LiDAR elevation mapping technology. The discovery could slow down the already controversial project, for which critics say that it threatens the local water supplies and more importantly, the area’s indigenous communities.
The Ruins Cover a Large Area
LiDAR detected a total of 2,187 “archeological monuments” along 227 miles of the planned train route. That is approximately 25% of the rail path. Further controversy was added by the fact that experts were already aware of some of the ruins.
The Maya civilization had a large number of settlements and city-states throughout Central American and the Yucatan peninsula between 2,000 BC and 900 AD. Their ancestors still inhabit the region.
The ruins can be anything, from pre-Hispanic Maya homes to the remains of temples and other buildings of great significance. Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History has found proof that at least 91 of the discovered “monuments” are large structures such as temple bases and plazas. There is little chance that intact Maya houses are among the ruins since they were generally small in size and made of wood, which means they were easily destroyed over the centuries.
Maya Ruins Must Be Preserved
Specialists at the institute made a statement that urged the train route builders to take the necessary measures to prevent damaging the remnants. However, it wasn’t specified whether the original path of the railway will have to be altered.
The “Maya Train” route is expected to run for about 932 miles around the Yucatan peninsula, connecting Caribbean hotels to areas that have archeological ruins. It will have a total of 15 stations and is calculated to cost as much as $6.8 billion to the Mexican government.
Several Maya communities have taken legal actions to stop the construction of the railway, as they believe it will cause severe environmental damage and endanger the ancient monuments.