Poring over satellite photos of remote Mexican jungle areas, scientists believed they saw hints of an ancient Maya city hidden in the foliage. And on Friday, a group of archaeologists led by Ivan Sprajc announced they'd visited the area and made an incredible find.

Photo by Mauricio Marat

Crumbling, palatial ruins cover 54 acres of land in this western Yucatán region, including the remains of buildings, ceremonial sculptures, and stele (rock monoliths) covered in writing. Sprajc dubbed the city Chactún, and he and his team believe it was inhabited during the late classical period of the Maya civilization, roughly 600-900 AD. A combination of climate change and war ended the heyday of Maya civilization roughly 1200 years ago.

On LiveScience, Megan Gannon writes:

Sprajc and his team found three monumental complexes with the remains of pyramids — one 75 feet (23 meters) high — as well as ball courts, plazas, homes, altars, bits of painted stucco and stone slabs known as stele. Epigraphers are still poring over inscriptions at Chactún, but one stele refers to an apparent ruler named K'inich B'ahlam, the researchers say.

Photo by Mauricio Marat

This is one of the largest Maya sites discovered in the region, and should yield a wealth of information about this community and its way of life. Though Chactún has never been studied by archaeologists before, the city hasn't exactly been "lost" either. Loggers visited the region a few decades ago and apparently didn't feel the ruins were important enough to tell anyone about.

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