Archaeologists have discovered a wooden Mayan canoe in southern Mexico, believed to be over 1,000 years old.
Measuring over 5 feet (1.6 m), it was found almost completely intact, submerged in a freshwater pool near the ruins of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza.
The Mexico Institute of Antiquities (Inah) says it may have been used to extract water or deposit ritual offerings.
The rare find occurred during the construction of a new tourist railway known as the Maya Train.
In a statement, the Inah said archaeologists also discovered pottery, a ritual knife, and painted murals of hands on a rock face in the pool, known as a cenote.
Experts from the Sorbonne University in Paris helped pinpoint the exact age and type of the canoe, the statement said. A 3D model would also be made to allow replicas to be made and to facilitate further studies, he added.
The Maya civilization flourished before Spain conquered the region. In their day, the Maya ruled vast tracts of territory in what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.
The boat has been provisionally dated between 830-950 AD, towards the end of the golden age of the Maya civilization.
Around this time, the Mayan civilization suffered a severe political collapse, marked by the abandonment of the cities scattered throughout present-day Central America, leaving the ruins of towering pyramids and other stone buildings.
No single theory for this collapse has been widely accepted, but a combination of internal warfare, drought and overpopulation is believed to have contributed.
The so-called Maya Train is a multi-billion dollar project, led by the left government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which will cross five states in southern Mexico.
Supporters said the rail network will help alleviate poverty in the region. But critics argue it risks damaging local ecosystems and unknown sites of historical significance.
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