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Chichén Viejo: Housing complex for the Mayan elite is emerging as a new tourist attraction

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Chichén Viejo. Photo: INAH

Archaeologists in Piste have revealed a newly discovered group of structures at Chichén Itzá believed to have been part of an elite housing complex in antiquity.

The complex would represent “the first residential group where a ruler lived with his entire family,” archaeologist Francisco Perez Ruiz told the Reuters news agency.

The area, known as Chichén Viejo, is expected to be integrated in the near future into the visitor area of the Chichén Itzá archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The complex includes the entrance arch, the House of the Snails, the House of the Moon, and the so-called Palace of the Phalluses.

INAH researchers hope this discovery can provide information on what life was like for the people who inhabited the city since the 5th Century AD.

Chichén Viejo, Yucatán. Photo: INAH

“There must be more residential groups that have not been explored yet. The study of these peripheral groups, around the central part, could tell us about other families, other groups that made up this great city,” said archaeologist Jose Osorio Leon.

There is evidence that from 650 to 700 after Christ, its development began and reached its peak from 900 to 1200 AD, said archaeologist Marco Antonio Santos, director of the Chichén Itzá archaeological zone.

The area has been under exploration since 1998. An estimated 2 million people visit Chichén Itzá each year. It was founded as a Mayan pilgrimage center by the Itza, or “water sorcerers.”

Source: Reuters

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