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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 03:32 AM
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Archaeologists find new clues why the Maya left
Updated 38m ago
Archaeologists find new clues why the Maya left
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Preserved almost like Pompeii

Farther north, at centers such as Mayapan, pyramids and temples stayed in business until the arrival of Spain's conquistadors in the 1500s. The Maya people themselves remained, of course, with millions living today in Central America, from modern-day El Salvador to Mexico.

Scholars are entranced with the ruins at Kiuic that still bear the last traces of their owners' flight, a Maya version of Pompeii, the entombed town of Roman archaeological fame. Overlooked and overgrown for more than a millennium, a variety of clues now beg for interpretation:

Walls, perfectly laid out with corner and vault stones, lying flat on the ground and waiting to be erected atop the second floor of a palace.

A half-finished plaza, one side stuccoed and completed, the other composed of bowling-ball-sized stones.

Pots and grinding stones left neatly in homes, awaiting their owners' return.

At Kiuic, "the evidence for rapid abandonment now appears more compelling," says archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona-Tucson, who heads efforts to investigate the Maya settlement of Aguateca in Guatemala, a site suddenly abandoned in 830 during warfare. "It is a very important discovery."

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