Strange mounds puzzled residents of Mexican town. They hid a 2,000-year-old settlement

Residents of Tecpan de Galeana, a municipality along the southwestern coast of Mexico, recently noticed something peculiar.

They spotted a series of large mounds dotting the forested landscape, which piqued the interest of state archaeologists.

During a subsequent three-day investigation of the area, the archaeologists uncovered a pre-Hispanic settlement that dates back nearly 2,000 years, according to an Aug. 1 news release from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

In total, 26 mounds were recorded at a site spanning around two dozen acres. Ball courts, public squares, altars and residential structures were found scattered throughout them, officials said.

The mounds were all situated around one larger mound, which stood around 80 feet high and had a base about 240 feet wide.

Some of the unearthed structures were built from stone and adobe, a type of dried mud used in construction.

The site, strategically located a half mile from the Tecpan River, appeared to be the ancient city of Apancalecan, which is referenced in 16th century sources, officials said.

The name Apancalecan roughly translates to the place of the house with water channels, officials said, noting that water storage structures were discovered at the site.

Ceramics and other artifacts found by archaeologists suggest the city was occupied from as early as 200 AD — over 1,200 years before Columbus sailed to the Americas.

People may have carried on living there until as late as 1521, around the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

The city’s newfound ruins are just one of many pre-Hispanic sites discovered throughout the region, officials said. The network of ancient remains helps shed light on thousands of years of cultural development in Mexico.

Google Translate was used to translate a news release from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

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