NPR: Excavations reveal sophisticated Mayan water filtration

A multidisciplinary team of UC researchers makes a startling find at Tikal

NPR's Weekend Edition talked to University of Cincinnati researchers about their amazing discovery that the ancient Maya created a sophisticated filtration system to keep drinking water clean.

A multidisciplinary team of biologists, anthropologists and geographers in UC's College of Arts and Sciences found evidence that the ancient Maya imported materials such as sand and zeolite for the express purpose of filtering water stored in the reservoirs that largely provided their only potable water during the dry season.

UC's findings were published this month in the journal Scientific Reports.

NPR host Scott Simon talked to one of the co-authors, UC biology professor David Lentz, about the team's discovery.

"The Maya were a very clever and inventive people. They had stunning architecture. They had beautiful sculptures. They were adept at astronomy. They had mathematics," Lentz said.

The project included lead author and UC associate professor of anthropology Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, UC geography professor Nicholas Dunning, UC assistant research professor Christopher Carr and UC professor emeritus of anthropology Vernon Scarborough.

Listen to the Weekend Edition interview.

Featured image at top: The ancient Maya city of Tikal. Photo/Jimmy Baum/Unsplash

David Lentz wears a UC ballcap and gestures in front of a barn and wildflowers at UC's Center for FIeld Studies.

UC biology professor David Lentz, pictured at UC's Center for Field Studies, talked to NPR's Weekend Edition about UC's startling discoveries about the ancient Maya. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand