You have to hand it to the Mayans, they sure know how to keep a secret.
Two cities that once belonged to the ancient civilization were found tucked away deep in the jungles of the Mexican state of Campeche. A team led by Ivan Šprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, made the discovery with the aid of aerial photographs.
The cities, now known as Lagunita and Tamchen, were hidden behind thick vegetation in a relatively inaccessible area. But once unearthed, Šprajc and his team found the ruins of a pyramid that once stood 65 ft. high, three altars, a ball court and well-preserved hieroglyphic inscriptions. They believe the cities both cleared out around 1,000 A.D. Check them out for yourself in the slideshow below:
Two lost Mayan cities discovered deep in the jungle
Temple PyramidWhat now looks like an old pile of rocks was once a magnificent temple pyramid that stood 65 ft high in the ancient city of Lagunita. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
Upper SanctuaryArchaeologists are seen here exiting the remains of an upper sanctuary. Much of the ancient people's worship would take place here. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
ChultunsMayans had basements?! Not quite. These pits are called chultuns, which are underground chambers used to collect water. More than 30 were discovered at the site. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
Monster-mouth façadeThis facade represents the open jaws of the Mayan earth and fertility deity.Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
Stone altarsTen of these tall sculpted stone shafts were found in the cities, along with three circular stones that once served as altars. Some of them feature well-preserved hieroglyphic inscriptions, which haven't yet been deciphered.Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
Mysterious structureThis large structure was found in the newly discovered city of Tamchen, which means "deep well" in Yucatec Maya. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
HieroglyphicsAn inscription on one of these stones, called stelae, reveals it was engraved Nov. 29, 711 A.D. Unfortunately, the rest of the text has eroded heavily over time. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU
StelaeThis is a stelae or pillar placed near a temple pyramid. These would usually feature hieroglyphic inscriptions. Ivan Šprajc/ZRC SAZU