Ancient palace unearthed in Mexico

Possibly the oldest ever excavated palace in El Palenque, located in Mexico’s Valley of Oaxaca, has been unearthed by archaeologists. It was the local ruler’s residence and the seat of government.

El Palenque royal palace (by Elsa M. Redmond & Charles Spencer)

The architectural remains of the palatial complex date back 2300 years, as shown by radiocarbon dating of found charcoal samples. It is the oldest royal building excavated to date in the area, providing some of the earliest evidence of early states’ emergence in Mesoamerica. Archaeologists believe that Oaxaca has been among the earliest archaic states to have emerged in Mesoamerica. Researchers have been working at the El Palenque archaeological site since 1993, carrying out intensive mapping, surface collecting and excavations. On the north side of El Palenque’s plaza, the archaeologists have exposed a palace complex that once extended over more than 2000 square metres.

Water shrine found at the site (by Elsa M. Redmond & Charles Spencer)

According to the experts the palace’s features makes it similar to the royal palaces of later, historically documented Mesoamerican states. It was probably built in a single large-scale construction effort as a  a multifunctional palace, composed of both courts and buildings where government officials assembled to conduct state affairs, but also of the ruler’s residential quarters.

(after International Business Times, Elsa M. Redmond & Charles Spencer)

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