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Sunday, November 27, 2022

A group of friends on their bicycles encounter ancient Maya ruins

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The team of amateur explorers is made up of a nurse, delivery person, mechanic, two waiters, and a construction worker. Photo: Courtesy

Over the past couple of years, six friends have cycled through Yucatán and come upon several undocumented Mayan Ruins in the process.

The group began by exploring areas near Mérida, such as the abandoned cemetery at Misnebalam, but have since begun exploring further afield. 

“We have run into several ruins in the jungle, none of which seem to be registered by the INAH, so I guess we can claim to have discovered them,” said amateur cyclist and explorer Saúl Pech. 

One of the most impressive finds made by the group is a large pyramid in the jungle surrounding Dzibalkú, roughly halfway between Tizimin and Las Coloradas. 

The cyclists have also come upon the ruins of several colonial-era haciendas dating as far back as the 17th century.

Earlier: Auction of ancient Mesoamerican artifacts in Paris outrages Mexicans

When asked if any of the members of the intrepid cycling team had any experience with archaeology or anthropology, they all replied “none whatsoever.”

Though by all accounts these explorers have been responsible in their activities and left the sites intact, this sort of activity often raises concerns about looting ancient artifacts.

For example, after the discovery of an archaeological site named X’baatún, several reports of looting have been reported. 

“Unexplored sites and mounds in the jungle are simply too many to have any real state control over. They are just about everywhere,” notes local tour guide Sergio Solis. 

Untouched for over 1,000 years, ancient Mayan structures dot the landscape across Mesoamerica. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

That being said, in recent years the use of LiDAR technology has led to the discovery of hundreds of previously unknown sites on the Yucatán Peninsula alone. 

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