According to various specialists, the water treatment system in the city of Tikal was one of the oldest in the world.
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (USA). They foundevidence of a water filtration system with natural materials in the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, in northern Guatemala, the educational institution announced this Thursday.
In one of the deposits, the multidisciplinary team of anthropologists, geographers and biologists discovered crystal quartz and zeolite -minerals used in modern purification from the water - that were carried from miles away. The filters would have removed harmful microbes, nitrogenous compounds and heavy metals such as mercury and other toxins from the water.
"It was probably through very clever empirical observation that the ancient Maya saw that this particular material was associated with clean water and made some effort to get it there," said Nicholas Dunning, a professor of geography and one of the authors of the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The expert explained that the Mayans had "sedimentation tanks where the water ran into the reservoir before entering it."
"The interesting thing is that this system would still be effective today and the Maya discovered it more than 2,000 years ago," said Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, associate professor of anthropology and lead author of the study.
In addition, the scientist stressed that this water treatment system isone of the oldest of its kind in the world.
For the ancient Mayans, finding ways to collect and store clean water was of vital importance, since Tikal and other cities were built on porous limestone that made access to drinking water difficult for much of the year due to seasonal droughts.