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Sat Jun 27, 2020, 02:53 PM

Ancient Maya reservoirs contained toxic pollution

Mercury, algae made water undrinkable in heart of city
June 26, 2020
University of Cincinnati

Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found toxic levels of pollution in two central reservoirs in Tikal, an ancient Maya city that dates back to the third century B.C. in what is now northern Guatemala.

UC's findings suggest droughts in the ninth century likely contributed to the depopulation and eventual abandonment of the city.

"The conversion of Tikal's central reservoirs from life-sustaining to sickness-inducing places would have both practically and symbolically helped to bring about the abandonment of this magnificent city," the study concluded.

A geochemical analysis found that two reservoirs nearest the city palace and temple contained toxic levels of mercury that UC researchers traced back to a pigment the Maya used to adorn buildings, clayware and other goods. During rainstorms, mercury in the pigment leached into the reservoirs where it settled in layers of sediment over the years.


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Reply Ancient Maya reservoirs contained toxic pollution (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 2020 OP
Laelth Jun 2020 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 04:33 PM

1. Their art killed them. Sad. n/t


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