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Maya civilization's roots may lie in ritual

Guatemalan finds point to ancient cultural interactions across a wide territory

12:27pm, April 25, 2013

Ancient Maya civilization was born of public rituals devised several thousand years ago as a result of mingling among groups spread across what’s now southern Mexico and Guatemala.

That’s the provocative conclusion of a report, published April 25 in Science, describing the excavation of that region’s oldest known ceremonial structures. The excavations were at Ceibal, an early Maya settlement in Guatemala. These 3,000-year-old finds consist of remnants of a square platform and a long platform separated by a plaza, say archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona in Tucson and his colleagues. Critically, the two structures run from east to west.

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