Others: Maya

© Bob Denton, 2016
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The Maya civilization at its peak spread across parts of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. They ‘emerged’ in 1,000 BCE and reigned until 870 CE.

See the earlier piece on cenotes, in Yucatan there are over 2,000 of these providing the region’s inhabitants with fresh water. These were often considered as sacred and used for sacrificing young boys and girls. Chaac is their god of rain and he is still today celebrated to bring rain after their dry season.

The city of Palenque in today’s Mexico has been excavated and it was found that this early people used aqueducts and pressurised water systems. The area was occupied between 100 and 800 CE, though it peaked between 250 and 600 CE. It had been believed that these hydraulic principles arrived with the Spanish but recent archaeological discoveries show this cannot be the case.

Interior of Piedras Bolas aqueduct
Image source: Kirk French, Penn State

Built between two escarpments the community routed spring-fed rivers via aqueducts to serve a large area. The Piedras Bolas aqueduct drops around 20 feet (6m) across its  m (200 ft) run, but also its profile constricts from 10 square feet to just half-a-square foot, the effects of gravity and the constriction delivers the water under pressure. The archaeologists surmise that there would have been a fountain located at its end for residents to collect their water requirements. There may well have been storage facilities too. Yet its purpose was as much about drainage to vent the community during its heavy rainfall periods. Other finds in the region include ceramic pipes in many sites across central Mexico.

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© Bob Denton, 2016
Forward to B – Middle Ages   –  Advance to DD and D
Back to Unpublished writing