Skip to comments.Ancient Maya reservoirs contained toxic pollution
Posted on 07/01/2020 11:13:04 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable.
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found toxic levels of pollution in two central reservoirs in Tikal, an ancient Maya city that dates back to the third century B.C. in what is now northern Guatemala.
UC's findings suggest droughts in the ninth century likely contributed to the depopulation and eventual abandonment of the city.
"The conversion of Tikal's central reservoirs from life-sustaining to sickness-inducing places would have both practically and symbolically helped to bring about the abandonment of this magnificent city," the study concluded.
A geochemical analysis found that two reservoirs nearest the city palace and temple contained toxic levels of mercury that UC researchers traced back to a pigment the Maya used to adorn buildings, clayware and other goods. During rainstorms, mercury in the pigment leached into the reservoirs where it settled in layers of sediment over the years.
But the former inhabitants of this city, made famous by its towering stone temples and architecture, had ample potable water from nearby reservoirs that remained uncontaminated, UC researchers found.
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
The ancient city of Tikal rises above the rainforest in northern Guatemala. [David Lentz/UC]
I thought only white people pollute the environment. (sarc)
That’s silly - the only ones who believe that are white liberals.
I thought only evil greedy white people in 20th century America polluted the environment. No?
“The bad thing about these is they’re resistant to boiling. It made water in these reservoirs toxic to drink,” Lentz said.”
Whoa. While boiling wouldn’t have eliminated the mercury, I’ve always thought boiling was the cure for all those little buggies floating in the water.
I have read, or seen a documentary, on the Maya that said they were crazy over STUCCO!
They STUCCOED EVERYTHING, INSIDE AND OUT!
They also liked ‘red’ paint to create murals, stain the stucco mix and their own bodies.
CINNABAR, a mercury ore, is bright red and they probably used it everywhere, ground into powder.
Oxides of mercury affect the brain as in Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. Hatters of the time were known to suffer mental breakdowns because they used mercury in their trade.
So all the Maya may have just gone insane and their civilization collapsed..............
I watched Mel Gibson’s movie “Apocalypto”. In one scene where the prisoners were being led into the city it showed the fields nearest the city to be low yield with stunted growth. It showed the overflow from the dye making pits in the city flowing into ditches and flowing away.
The whole scene showed an arrogant and declining society.
Also watched a documentary that posited that the Mayans burnt too many trees for the ash to make the whitewash for their buildings. The estimation of how many acres of trees had to be cut to whitewash one small temple was astonishing.
Sounds all too modern...the insane part....maybe our population is polluted with ethanol...marijuana...meth...opiates...SSRI’s..sexually active hormones....which could help explain the illogical reasoning we witness on a daily basis...
They were white pre-hispanics .
The toxicity was due to the contaminants such as mercury, it's not likely that any microcritters were living in the water.
Cruisin’ up and down that plaze.
Sounds plausible. BTW, Stucco Marx would be a cool name for a high-end homebuilder in northern LA.
It's just possible that humans, historically, are more or less always like that. :^)
The Chimu had built a nice place, then there was a bit of a drought and they went wild with human sacrifice (the higher-ups were trying to cling to power, and, hey, why does this sound familiar?). That didn't work. It's not impossible that the Mayans used human bone ash in their mixture as well, and when there were fewer trees...
Cradle of Chocolate?[snip] Digging through history to a time before agriculture, archaeologists from Cornell University and the University of California at Berkeley have found evidence of a village that was continuously occupied from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1000 as well as hints to the secret of the community's remarkable longevity.
by Roger Segelken
October 8, 1998
"My guess is, it all comes down to chocolate," says John S. Henderson, professor of anthropology at Cornell and co-director, together with Rosemary Joyce of Berkeley, of the archaeological dig at Puerto Escondido, Honduras. The type of ceremonial pottery uncovered by the archaeologists points to that region of Mesoamerica as a possible "Cradle of Chocolate." [/snip]
The article itself pointed out that the sediments also contained algae with cyanobacteria which were also toxic and not affected by boiling. So cyanide and mercury!!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.