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New archaeological areas in Quintana Roo set to open with start of Maya Train

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Three new archaeological areas in Quintana Roo will open with the official operation of Tren Maya. The General Director of INAH, Diego Prieto Hernández says Kohunlich in Quintana Roo will increase its influx with the start of operations of the Maya Train and the opening of three new monumental areas.

The additional areas are part of the the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) developed by the federal Ministry of Culture, through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

During restoration work, Kohunlich, a settlement made up of housing units and civic-ceremonial architectural complexes, surrounded by fertile lands for cultivation, in an area of 14 square kilometers, was preserved.

According to Prieto Hernández, its occupation dates back to the Late Preclassic period (300 BC-250 AD), but its early constructions were covered by monumental buildings in the Early Classic period (200-600 AD).

During this period, the Temple of the Masks was erected, decorated with eight figures molded in polychrome stucco, in red and black colors, on masonry frameworks, of which only five remain. Its iconography represents royal characters, dressed in attributes related to the sun.

The Promeza protects these imposing ancestral faces from the effects of weathering, with meticulous research work, through the use of advanced technological tools, in order to understand the factors that cause their deterioration and define criteria and mechanisms for their conservation.

It was between 600 and 900 AD that Kohunlich reached its maximum population and during that period most of the structures that can be seen today were built, such as the Plaza de las Estelas and the Vias and Noroeste complexes, the late constructions of the Pixa’an complexes and the 27 Steps, which were residences of the elite.

Compared to other Mayan archaeological areas, the site was late to be investigated. Its systematic study began in the last decade of the 20th century, with the intervention of a group of specialists, headed by the renowned archaeologist Enrique Nalda.

In addition to the conservation and restoration work, Promeza is working on the creation of 1,359 linear meters of interpretive trails, with 153 explanatory cards, as well as the opening of three new monumental areas to public visits.

The head of the INAH maintained that Kohunlich is a notable example of the actions carried out through Promeza in 29 archaeological zones in the region, “promoting a better understanding and enjoyment of the beauties and testimonies of these seductive Mayan cities.”