The Mayans mastered water management. What can we learn from them?

The Mayans mastered water management. What can we learn from them?

Keeping water clean for essential uses like drinking, cooking, and cleaning is a major global environmental hurdle, complicated by issues such as microplastics and chemical pollution

However, a new study suggests we might find solutions by studying how the ancient Maya civilization used to keep their water clean.

The Maya were proficient at water management. They built and maintained water reservoirs that functioned as constructed wetlands, using natural processes such as vegetation, soils, and microbes to improve water quality. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researcher Lisa Lucero believes these could now serve as archetypes for how we manage our own water systems.

Wetlands and water

Constructed wetlands are shallow, densely-planted, man-made pods that filter water through physical and biological processes. They mimic the functions of natural wetlands but are engineered to treat wastewater, manage stormwater, and even improve habitat. The idea is to leverage the natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils, and their microbial communities to remove pollutants from water.

There are many designs available like vertical wetlands, which require less land but more energy to operate.

In the case of the ancient Maya civilization, constructed wetlands were used for water purification. The Maya designed these systems with layers of sand, gravel, and plants, usually in shallow, sloping areas. Water flowed through these materials, and as it did, pollutants like bacteria, chemicals, and solids were trapped or broken down by the plants and microorganisms in the soil. These early systems were quite effective at cleaning water for drinking, cooking, and other activities.

“Constructed wetlands provide many advantages over conventional wastewater treatment systems. They provide an economical, low technology, less expensive and high energy-saving treatment technology,” Lucero said in a press release. “Constructed wetlands also support aquatic animals and can be a source of nutrients for agriculture.”

To ensure access to clean water, the Maya used a diverse array of aquatic plants, Lucero found, based on evidence from excavations, sediment cores, wetlands today, and iconographic and hieroglyphic records. One of the most used plants is the water lily (Nymphaea ampla), a hydrophytic plant native to temperate and tropical areas.

Because of their prevalence, archaeologists had assumed that water lilies played a major role in maintaining clean water. However, water lilies are very sensitive and only grow in clean water. They don’t tolerate acidic conditions or high concentrations of certain minerals. Also, water being cloudy or containing too much algae will limit their growth.

Lidar map of Tikal, Guatemala, showing some of its reservoirs. Image credit- Lucero et al
Lidar map of Tikal, Guatemala, showing some of its reservoirs. Image credit- Lucero et al

Lucero believes the Maya used impermeable materials such as clay in the reservoir to stabilize pH levels, allowing water lilies to thrive. And since most of the reservoirs were lined with clay or other materials, it’s also likely that the Maya added soil or took advantage of naturally occurring sedimentation to support water lilies, she added.

“Water lilies indicate clean water—and symbolized Classic Maya kingship. Kings and water lilies were depicted together on monumental architecture, stelae, and portable objects,” Lucero wrote. “Clean water and political power were inextricably linked as demonstrated by the fact that the largest reservoirs were built near palaces.”

Lessons from the Maya

The reservoirs likely supported diverse biota found today in Central American wetlands that would have benefited the Maya, such as fish and eels. Fish feces, which the Maya would have had to dredge every few years, provided a potential source of fertilizer. The Maya would also have had to harvest and replenish plants saturated with nutrients.

Settlement maps show that the Maya didn’t build residences near reservoir edges so contamination from human waste wouldn’t be an issue for reservoirs. Studies analyzed DNA in sediments from reservoir edges in massive Maya cities like Tikal in Guatemala and identified large and small trees. Shaded water from trees prevents algal growth.

The way the Maya civilization used to take care of their water resources embodies lessons for current and future water management practices, Lucero argued. If researchers can establish exactly how the Maya reservoirs worked, they might be able to improve current and future constructed wetlands and expand their use, she added.

Constructed wetlands don’t require the use of chemicals or fossil fuels to operate and after being set up they become self-cleaning and self-sufficient with some maintenance. People can work together to provide their communities with clean water, starting with small constructed wetlands, also planting trees like the Maya did.

“Like Maya reservoirs, constructed wetlands would provide clean drinking water and support fish, snails, turtles, mollusks, edible and medicinal plants, and more,” Lucero wrote in her paper. “The next step moving forward is to combine our respective expertise and implement the lessons embodied in ancient Maya reservoirs.”


Scientists Just Discovered a Complex Maya City Buried Deep in the Jungle

Scientists Just Discovered a Complex Maya City Buried Deep in the Jungle

  • Researchers recently spotted an ancient Maya city using LiDAR. It’s located in the Balamakú ecological reserve on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • Further ground investigation showed an array of complex structures in an area otherwise largely unknown to researchers.
  • The array of buildings discovered lends credence to the idea that this city could have played a major role in the region.

The jungles of the Balamakú ecological reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula recently offered up a remarkable look at an ancient Maya city, one likely to be rather regionally prominent. Though it is over 1,000 years old, this city wasn’t known to the modern age. Its re-discovery comes thanks to airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) and subsequent on-the-ground archeology.

Tucked some 37 miles deep in the jungle, a research team—led by Ivan Ṡprajc, a professor of archaeology from Slovenia who has directed work on the Yucatan Peninsula since 1996—took info from the airborne scan to discover the true location of a 1,000-year-old Maya city complete with complex buildings, plazas, and even a ball game site.

Highlighted by several pyramidal structures over 50 feet tall, the city is perched on a peninsula of high ground surrounded by extensive wetlands. The 123-acre site includes three plazas featuring “imposing buildings and surrounded by several patio groups,” according to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the group working to explore the densely vegetated reserve in the state of Campeche.

“Between the two main plazas there is a complex made up of various low and elongated structures, arranged almost in concentric circles” Ṡprajc says in a statement translated from Spanish. “A ball game is also included.”

Researchers named the newly discovered city Ocomtún, “stone column” in Yucatec Maya. The multiple cylindrical columns discovered likely serving as entrances to upper rooms of buildings.

As the team searched the site, they continued to locate structures leading toward the La Rigueña River that included stairways, monolithic columns, and central altars. The team also discovered an area for a ball field and the possibility of either markets or space for community rituals.

“The site served as an important center at the regional level,” Ṡprajc says, “probably during the Classic period (250-1000 AD). The most common ceramic types that we collected on the surface and in some test pits are from the Late Classic (600-800 AD); however, the analysis of samples of this material will offer us more reliable data on the sequences of occupation.”

The team believes the Ocomtún site underwent alterations sometime around 1000 AD, thanks to the shrines in the center of the patio and squares. “A reflection of ideological and population changes in times of crises,” Ṡprajc explains, “that, finally, by the 10th century led to the collapse of the complex sociopolitical organization and the drastic demographic decline in the Maya Central Lowlands.”

Located within 18 to 31 miles of three other Maya cities discovered within the last decade, the exploration of Balamakú ecological reserve continues to offer up exciting finds. The Ocomtún unearthing may prove the most alluring.


The Alley of Flowers awaits you in Xetulul

The Plaza España has been renovated and now offers new entertainment and traditional cuisine tasting options.

On December 22, the representative area of Spain within the Xetulul park was inaugurated after its renovation. In this new area, the Recreation Institute of Private Enterprise Workers of Guatemala (IRTRA) offers new options to its visitors. The old alley has been renamed La Calleja de las Flores, where the Churrería de las Callejas has been set up, and a modern tapas bar has been designed.

La Churrería de las Callejas will offer the delicious and renowned churros it has always offered in Plaza Chapina, along with chocolate, coffee, tea, and crepes. The tapas bar will offer the traditional Spanish wine glass, called chato, as well as tapas and boards of cheeses and hams, croquettes, and Spanish omelettes. Additionally, for the comfort of visitors, both establishments are air-conditioned.

The Xetulul amusement park offers magic and fun for the whole family with its impressive attractions and thrilling electromechanical games, as well as spectacular roving shows and the fantastic Magic Show of the Grand Theater of France. It also features a wide variety of restaurants.

The design of Xetulul is based on an architectural setting that showcases the origin and history of Guatemala, as well as various European countries that have influenced Guatemalan culture, integrating nine squares: Plaza Chapina, Pueblo Guatemalteco, Plaza Maya, Plaza España, Plaza Italia, Plaza Francia, Plaza Alemania-Suiza, Plaza Pueblo Caribeño, and Plaza Pueblo Fantasía.

“IRTRA has been characterized by the continuous effort it makes to maintain the optimal level of maintenance and operation of its infrastructure, which is why it has carried out various renovations over time, with the aim of offering first-class facilities to all its visitors,” said Ricardo Castillo Sinibaldi, President of the Board of Directors of the Recreation Institute of Private Enterprise Workers of Guatemala – IRTRA.

The construction area of the tapas bar and La Churrería de las Callejas occupies a total of 230.36 m2, distributed over 2 levels. La Churrería de las Callejas is located on the first level, and the tapas bar is on the second level. La Calle de las Flores has 220.05 m2.

The Recreation Institute of Private Enterprise Workers of Guatemala – IRTRA – has been the creator of an unparalleled world of happiness for 60 years, where all Guatemalans can enjoy unique and joy-filled family moments, showing that Guatemala can transform into the prosperous land that all Guatemalans deserve; The Land of Yes We Can.”

Come and get tangled up in the new adventure that Xejuyup has for you

Come and get tangled up in the new adventure that Xejuyup has for you

The Recreation Institute for Private Enterprise Workers of Guatemala (IRTRA) is known for its constant innovation, providing quality attractions and fun for Guatemalans, and this summer is no exception.

Yesterday, on Sunday, April 10th, Xejuyup opened the doors to its new attraction, the Tangled Castle, where all family members will enjoy an unparalleled ride while always maintaining all necessary safety measures for visitors.

This attraction stands out from the others because it features individual 4-seat cars where spins can be enjoyed by both adults and children, as the minimum height to enter is 1.20 meters.

“The fun never stops at Xejuyup; undoubtedly, seeing the excitement of the little ones being able to ride and enjoy the journey with their parents brings us joy,” commented Ricardo Castillo Sinibaldi, President of IRTRA. “We are starting the summer in the best way; this attraction brings excitement and joy to our visitors. That’s why we invite you to come and enjoy everything that Xejuyup has for this season of fun and warmth,” he added.

The entire ride can be completed in 3 minutes and 20 seconds, and every second is filled with excitement and adrenaline. The Tangled Castle is made of lightweight but high-security materials, making the journey in its carriages completely attractive.

En el IRTRA- La Tierra del Sí Se Puede vuelve la FELICIDAR al Teatro Fantasía

At IRTRA: The Land of Yes We Can, Happiness Returns to Fantasy Theater

Guatemala, Walking through Mundo Petapa Park, a faint music can be heard coming from Fantasy Theater, causing its visitors to quickly become excited and venture to discover the mysterious sound of musical notes.

The music begins to rise, inviting each of its visitors to approach and start the theatrical production that the cast has carried out with so much effort and dedication. With the aim of motivating Guatemalans that in a not too distant land, extraordinary things can happen if each of its inhabitants performs their duties in an extraordinary way and gives the “extra mile.”

This musical work reinforces, through various senses, the values on which the institution was created, based on its culture, the emotion it conveys, courage, and strength. It refers to each of its viewers that in this land, our beautiful Guatemala, things can be done right; we can make our country a better place through effort, dedication, and commitment. You can enjoy it on Saturdays and Sundays at 2, 3, and 4 p.m.

“For some time, we have been looking for ways to spread happiness to our theater cast, and we have managed to share and build our relationship since we resumed our activities in all parks because they are also part of our IRTRA family,” comments Ricardo Castillo Sinibaldi, President of the Recreation Institute for Private Enterprise Workers – IRTRA. “Therefore, it fills us with joy and pride to present the new song ‘Canción del Sí Se Puede,’ which seeks to capture our IRTRA CULTURE to the general population, and we hope that all Guatemalans feel identified.”

The Recreation Institute for Private Enterprise Workers of Guatemala – IRTRA welcomes the last months of 2021 through this exciting melody, providing joy and a new sense of happiness and motivation to its visitors and all Guatemalans.

Interview with Monsieur Periné

Interview with Monsieur Periné.

Interview By Michael Mofu | Life Music TV Latin America

The Colombian band Monsieur Periné is preparing their third album and they say goodbye to their album “Caja de Música”, the success that took them to the Grammy.

The band Monsieur Periné is very grateful to their second album “Caja de Música” for making them one of the Latin American bands of the moment, winning the “Best New Artist” award at the Latin Grammys and receiving the nomination for “Album of the Year.” anus”.
In addition, the work, which Eduardo Cabra produced, Visitante de Calle 13, which was also nominated in the “Best Latin/Alternative Rock Album” category at the Grammys.

The cycle of your second album “Caja de Música” comes to a close. How do you feel after all this? What did you like most about the album?
Santiago Prieto: It has been something very, very incredible what has happened to the history of this band, especially with this second album “Caja de Música”, because this album opened many doors for us, starting, let’s say, with the issue of the Grammy. That in one sense opens media doors, very important job opportunities, but on the other hand it opened the doors to musical exploration, how to change and know that we can reinvent ourselves. That was what this album “Caja de Música” taught us.

It seems like their album “Caja de Música” was released yesterday, however, almost 3 years have passed. Are they from reviewing it, what did they do before? Do they start criticizing records or old songs?
Santiago Prieto: We hardly listen to our records. That is to say; The records are like old photos. To say, when you show your ID or ID card that’s when you come out with a not-so-cool version, it gives me that feeling a bit.

Although this album that we are making, which will be released in a couple of months, will not be like that because we are more comfortable with what we have done.

The process of the album has gone from less to more and let’s say that it has had a cooking time a little slower, a little more calmly and things are coming better. Well, we don’t start criticizing, it’s rather laughing and remembering each song, each recording.

What do you feel is changing or improving between one album and the next?
Santiago Prieto: This is the new album we are making, which is the third. It is already a more mature version of Monsieur Periné, it is an evolution. Let’s say how to reinvent ourselves. All of this has to do with our experiences that we had been accumulating through this career that has involved a lot of traveling outwards, getting to know other worlds and also getting to know each other personally.

That has been the moment of great evolution, where the voices with which we are participating in this project are flourishing with a clearer identity and a more adult essence in a certain way. I think that is reflected in the music that we are about to release.

It is clear that the participation of Visitante de Calle 13 – Eduardo Cabra is very important for this new album that you are about to release. What do you think of his work on the album and the day-to-day life with the band?
Santiago Prieto: Eduardo Cabra Martínez. He is a super important person for the project. A person in charge of harmonizing and balancing the energy of the team, he of course brings a vision of music and production that is based on the human being in the sense of teamwork, of harmonizing and listening to all voices.

Eduardo is in charge of building all the music, all that feeling. He is like a coach, he is a key piece for this work of making records.

Finally, what’s coming in the future? What can we expect from this new album?
Santiago Prieto: Well, in the future there is this new album that will be released at the end of March or April. The idea is to come out with this album and start showing it wherever it takes us with this music. We have every intention that it will open many doors for us or at least that is what we want with this album.

We hope to have another level of a certain musical form. More than all that, we want a more robust show, to be able to play in other places, to be able to reach more people and to be able to take this music to other places and for people to reach it and receive it in a good way.

Exclusive Interview In Guatemala For Diario El Siglo and Diario Al Día.

Guatemalan musician stands out in the US

Guatemalan musician stands out in the US

The bassist provides second vocals for the groups The Gitas and The Feal

Salvador Ramazzini Alias ​​Uty is a formidable Guatemalan musician. He currently plays bass and does second vocals in two American bands: The Gitas and The Feal. He resides in the United States where he emigrated to fulfill his dreams. “I have been in the USA for 4 years, I moved in September 2012 to be able to continue my career as a professional musician,” he indicated. Furthermore, he tells us that he has “had the opportunity to collaborate with several artists from different parts of the world, including King Queen, Sullen Waves, Andrea Sandoval and even with my countrywoman Stefanie Zelaya.”
He studied at the Musicians Institute, where Guatemalans with excellent careers such as Fernando Martín and our pride in the Latin Grammys Gaby Moreno have emerged. At his young age he already had the opportunity to play in legendary venues such as The Viper Room, House of Blues, Whiskey a Go Go, The Troubadour, Granada Theatre, and several more. The band originally from Los Angeles, California, The Gitas, is preparing for the release of its first LP titled “Beverly Kills,” which will be on sale starting in January 2017.

The group tasted success with the video for their single “Mood for love”, which they released in December 2014, and it became the first in Russia. “The Gitas” is made up of: Sasha Cheremov on vocals and guitar, Brittany Maccarello on drums and Guatemalan Sal Ramazzini on bass.

Christmas concert to benefit Volunteer Firefighters

Christmas concert to benefit Volunteer Firefighters

The direction will be by the Guatemalan artist Mónica Sarmientos

The National Symphony Orchestra, of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, announces the celebration of its first Christmas Concert 2016. This will be held at the Germán Alcántara National Conservatory of Music, on November 17, at 7:30 p.m. to benefit Company 50 of Volunteer Firefighters. Admission will be Q50.

Attendees will be able to delight in the spectacular repertoire that the musicians have prepared for this opportunity. “A Christmas Festival,” by Leroy Anderson; “Son Nochebuena”, by Salvador Iriarte; “Carol of the Bells,” by Mycola Leontovich; “March”, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; “Frosty The Snowman”, by Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson, as well as “Sleigh Ride”, by Leroy Anderson.

The concert will be directed by the outstanding violinist, singer and actress Mónica Sarmientos. She will also perform as a soloist in the pieces “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane; “Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer,” by Robert May and Johnny Marks; “Silent Night”, by Franz Gruber, and “The Boy with the Drum”, by an unknown author. This last melody will have a new arrangement by Maestro Sergio Pacaché.


The Guatemalan group Somni presents their first single

Dead Star is the name of Somni’s first single and video, a song that will be part of his new album material. The audiovisual was filmed in the facilities of the Railway Museum, directed by Juan Luis and David Arrivillaga.

On October 31, Somni officially presented Dead Star, material that received good reviews from Guatemalans. The production of the video included the collaboration of Daniel and Carlos Álvarez, Kelvin Pineda, Miriam Saraccinni, Pedro Gálvez and Marcela Prera.

Somni is a Guatemalan alternative rock group, it is made up of Juan Luis Arrivillaga -vocals and guitar-, Fernando Sierra -drums-, Pablo Aguilar -guitar, and Víctor Valenzuela -bass-. You can listen to more of them through Spotify and Deezer.