Smithsonian: UC researchers uncover ancient Maya water filtration

UC archaeologists discover sophisticated filtration system at Tikal

Smithsonian Magazine highlighted the discovery by University of Cincinnati archaeologists of an advanced filtration system in the ancient Maya city of Tikal.

UC anthropology professor Kenneth Barnett Tankersley led a multidisciplinary archaeology team that included biologists and geographers in what is now northern Guatemala.

Kenneth Tankersley

Kenneth Tankersley. Photo/Provided

They found that the ancient Maya imported natural minerals, including quartz and zeolite, for a water filtration system in the Corriental reservoir, believed to be an important source of drinking water for residents of the prehistoric city.

UC’s discovery was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“What’s interesting is this system would still be effective today and the Maya discovered it more than 2,000 years ago," Tankersley said.

Science Magazine also joined the international media that took interest in UC's findings.

Tikal was a bustling city for about 1,000 years, reaching its peak of population density around the seventh century, according to Science.

“It was one of the preeminent Maya cities,” UC geography professor Nicholas Dunning told Science.

Featured image at top: The ancient Maya city of Tikal in Guatemala. Photo/Jimmy Baum/Wikimedia Commons

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