MEXICO CITY, Mexico: A five-foot wooden Mayan canoe, believed to be over 1,000 years old, was discovered by archeologists in southern Mexico during the construction of a new tourist railway, the Maya Train.
The canoe, which was submerged in a freshwater pool, was found almost completely intact near the ruined Mayan city of Chichen Itza.
In a statement, Mexico's antiquities institute said the boat could have been used to extract water or for ritual offerings, noting archaeologists also discovered ceramics, a ritual knife and painted murals of hands on a rock face in the pool,.
The statement added that experts from Paris's Sorbonne University have been assisting in determining the canoe's exact age and type.
The boat has been tentatively dated as having been built between 830 and 950 AD, towards the end of the Mayan civilization's golden age, when society suffered a major political collapse and the abandonment of cities located around modern-day Central America, leaving ruins of pyramids and other stone buildings.
Although the main reason for the collapse of the civilization is still subject to debate, it is believed a combination of internal warfare, drought and overpopulation may have contributed.
Led by President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador's left-wing government, the Maya Train is a multi-billion-dollar project that will run through five southern Mexican states.