TULUM, Mexico – In the relentless march of progress embodied by the construction of the Tren Maya, an astonishing array of archaeological treasures has come to light, adding another layer to the rich tapestry of Mexico’s cultural history.
According to the Institute Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), over 1.2 million discoveries have been unearthed, ranging from foundations and terraces to dwellings and ancient ceramics. One of the most intriguing finds is a stone representation of the Maya god K’awiil, unearthed in the expansive Tramo 7 of the Tren Maya.
Diego Prieto Hernández, head of the INAH, emphasized the significance of this discovery, stating, “This find is crucial because representations of the god K’awill in the round are rare. Until now, only three have been found in Tikal, Guatemala, and this is one of the first to appear in Mexican territory.”
The journey through time doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, a funerary chamber was unveiled in the Palenque archaeological zone in Chiapas. The primary burial displayed a supine position facing north, in accordance with ancient Palenque burial customs. A secondary deposit revealed the remains of a woman, suggesting a separate burial location. The bones were later rearranged in the chamber’s access space during a reopening event.
Mid-year, the Tramo 7 of the Tren Maya yielded a monumental discovery – a large stone sculpture representing a death deity. The features of this figure, with its stark, skeletal appearance, allude to death motifs and are thought to be associated with a deity of the afterlife.
Not far from the iconic Chichén Itzá, in Chichén Viejo, a site designated for the elite, a remarkable sculpture emerged in late August. This 90-centimeter, 45-meter figure represents an atlante, arms raised as if holding something aloft. Experts speculate that it might have served as part of an altar, cradling a sculpted stone. The well-preserved state of the Atlante at the time of discovery added another layer of awe to this remarkable find.
In the ongoing narrative of revelations, the INAH reported on October 20, 2022, the discovery of an elaborate stela with reliefs on both faces in the Uxmal Archaeological Zone, Yucatán. This find is part of the Programa de Mejoramiento de Zonas Arqueológicas (Promeza), integrated into the Tren Maya project.
Prieto Hernández clarified that this stela is a dual element, carved on both sides. The north-facing side features a large-eyed, bare-chested female deity with chin adornments.
As the Tren Maya forges ahead, it continues to unveil the secrets hidden beneath the earth, bringing to light not only the physical remnants of ancient civilizations but also the intricate stories etched into the stones of Mexico’s past. The Tulum community stands witness to these archaeological wonders, a testament to the profound cultural heritage embedded in the very soil beneath our feet.