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26 May 2003
Ancient Nicaraguan society found

A team of researchers have been working on the site at El Cascal de Flor de Pino, near the town of Kukra Hill for six years. The site, near the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, dates from before the Mayan era, and relics include what appears to be a centre for mass production of ceremonial columns.
     They've found evidence of an ancient town and several outlying villages, which developed from around 750 BCE; however, this newly discovered civilisation disappeared suddenly some 1,600 years ago. There are monuments, petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pottery, and most remarkably, an area where many huge columns were formed out of rock - columns which may have been used at burial sites. "The pottery is similar to pre-classical pottery found at sites of similar age in Belize," said Dr Ermengol Gassiot, of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. "And the columns resemble those found at Mexican sites where they had ritual uses.
     Much research remains to be done at El Cascal de Flor de Pino but it promises to reveal a vast amount about the various societies and customs which were eventually assimilated into the great culture of the Mayas.

Sources: BrightSurf (16 May 2003), BBC News (19 May 2003)

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