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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Intense rain damaged up to 25 of Yucatan’s ancient structures

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Chacmultún. Photo: Wikipedia

Two hurricanes, three cold fronts and a tropical storm — all within 27 days — damaged between 20 and 25 buildings in Yucatán’s archaeological zones, INAH said.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History in Yucatán reported the loss of some architectural elements as well as landslides that undermined some ancient structures.

A week of Cristobal’s June deluges started the problems, but in October, storms Gamma and Delta overlapped and set new records for rainfall in Yucatan. It was ruinous enough for modern buildings, but Yucatan’s vast collection of ancient structures were also hit hard.

In the Dzibilchaltún area, north of Mérida, minor damage was found in two structures. The cenote overflowed and the channel that leads to the Temple of the Seven Dolls was flooded. Chichén-Itzá and Ek Balam also reported flooded trails.

Damage was worse in the south, where floods were more severe. At Chacmultún, for example, INAH is studying how to repair two of its structures.

“In some cases, such as in Chacmultún, which is in the Puuc, there was a greater flood towards the buildings. We have to send a specialist to assess the degree of affectation,” explained Eduardo Calzada, director of INAH Yucatán.

Archaeologists and restorers have already been sent to carry out evaluations of structural damage and in some areas, they are already working, but in others, a more detailed study is required first.

“It implies the exploration that has to be very meticulous, it implies a very detailed record of the architectural elements that we are going to identify and, based on restoration criteria, return those stones that collapsed to their original place,” concluded José Huchim, INAH Archaeologist.

An 18th-century Catholic church in the southern village of Tekantación, was among those hardest hit. The Church of San Agustín roof sustained serious structural damage, INAH reported.

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