Thousands of ancient artifacts and structures belonging to the ancient Maya civilization have been uncovered along all four stretches of the Tren Maya project.
Authorities report that specialists have been deployed over 80 times to recover archaeological remains from construction sites. However, details are still unclear regarding the precise nature of these finds and how they are to be protected.
“The construction of the Tren Maya presents us with a paradox, on one hand it seeks to ease access to archaeological sites on the peninsula, yet on the other it runs the risk of destroying archaeological remains which remain unknown,” says archaeologist Evelina Magaña.
The paths of some railways have already been diverted from their original trajectories to ensure the protection of Maya monuments.
In 2013, a 2,300 year old Mayan pyramid in nearby Belize was completely destroyed by bulldozers to make room for a road in 2013.
As controversy surrounds the Tren Maya project, its backers in government have been quick to highlight their respect for contemporary indigenous peoples, as well as artifacts from the pre-hispanic past.
“The protection of these findings demonstrates how the Tren Maya strengthens our commitment with the indigenous population of Mexico’s south-east, and also serves to generate opportunities for archaeological research,” said a report issued by México’s federal commision for tourism.