A team from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) surveyed two central reservoirs in Tikal, the ancient Mayan city dating back to the 3rd century BC, now in northern Guatemala. They found shock: both of these reservoirs were heavily poisoned.
Geochemical analysis showed that both of these lakes, which are the main source of drinking water for Tikal people, were severely contaminated with mercury. Mercury seeps into the lake floor, settling in sediment for years.
Tikal - (photo: Simon Dannhauer).
This may be part of the mysterious disappearance of the Mayans, who have been shown to be very intelligent, skilled and technologically superior to most humans. in the same period. Drinking water contaminated with water, they will gradually become poisoned, sick and die prematurely, giving birth to teratogenic children .
The reason researchers thought it could ruin the empire was because the origin of mercury was something common throughout the Maya empire, not just this city: something called "cinnabar".
Cinnabar made archaeologists horrified many years ago, when excavating the famous Red Queen's tomb . Her whole body and surroundings were dyed crimson by cinnabar. Studies show that this is a special type of color made by the Mayans, very valuable and used in many rituals, decorating precious items.
The Red Queen Maya was found in a red covering the tomb and the entire remains - (photo: ontheroadin.com)
What the Maya thought was beautiful and used to pay their respects turned out to be a "drug" that led them to illness and depression. Because it is full of mercury. The rituals that took place near the lake may have caused countless cinnabars to fall into the lake, turning drinking water into poison.
In addition, the authors also found the ancient DNA of a poisonous algae, causing the beautiful and deadly "blooming algae" phenomenon that our modern humans must also fear. Algae blooms also cause serious pollution of water sources, causing disease even when the water is boiled to cool.
Some lakes around the city are not polluted, but scientists say the prolonged drought in the late Maya period, which was discovered in previous studies, has caused people People do not have many options in the water source. Drought, tainted water, and possibly many other unexplained mysterious problems, have made the legendary Mayans "evaporate" from the earth, leaving great fortresses.