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New discovery of 2,500 pre-Hispanic structures along Mayan Train route

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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.
Temple at the archaeological site of El Tabasqueño, one of the dozens of archaeological sites on the Yucatán Peninsula. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

INAH said it has detected evidence of nearly 2,500 pre-Hispanic structures and 80 burial sites along the route of the Mayan Train.

The archaeological discoveries were detected in the first 228 km (140 miles) stretch of the approximately 1,500 km (950-mile) rail network.

INAH reported in June that it had detected approximately 10,000 artifacts along the same route. These artifacts range from pottery fragments, tool shards as well as structures. 

The elevated number of archaeological discoveries along the Mayan Trains route comes as no surprise to archaeologists who know just how packed southeastern Mexico is with archaeological remains.

Representatives from Mexico’s national institute of history and anthropology (INAH) say that all excavated artifacts are being carefully cataloged and stored at a central location.

As for the structures uncovered, the INAH said it would be deciding on the best course of action on a case-by-case basis — an undertaking that is likely to take years. 

The route of the Mayan Train is to span the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.

Earlier: Chichén Itzá and Kabah to get new on-site museums

The project was a campaign promise of now-President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was elected in 2018. The project hopes to stimulate tourism in the region and contribute to the economic development of southeastern Mexico.

The Mayan Train is not without its critics who argue that the project will not be completed on time, if at all. Others point to environmental and social issues associated with the project, such as deforestation and opposition from indigenous groups.

Earlier this year, citing unacceptable levels of environmental damage, a judge in Yucatán issued a ruling which halted any new construction of the Mayan Train project. However, despite the injunction, construction has continued. 

Several indigenous groups have called for the cancelation of the project and the redirection of its budget to build essential infrastructure such as hospitals and schools in rural communities. 

Earlier this month, official sources reported that more than halfway through AMLO’s tenure, the construction of the Mayan Train is only at 10% completed.

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