It turns out that even the Mayan civilization, which hardly used metal, polluted the surrounding environment with mercury

A new study has found that multiple cities of the

Maya civilization that flourished before European settlement in southeastern Mexico were polluting the surrounding environment with mercury . Some cities had mercury pollution that exceeded modern standards, and evidence was found to suggest that the rulers of the time had chronic mercury poisoning.

Frontiers | Environmental legacy of pre-Columbian Maya mercury

Ancient Maya cities were dangerously contaminated with mercury - Science & research news | Frontiers

Ancient Maya Cities Appear to Have Been Riddled With Mercury Pollution : ScienceAlert

Speaking of environmental pollution by heavy metals, you may have a strong image of it occurring in modern society where industrialization has progressed. However, a research team led by Duncan Cook, a geological archaeologist at the Catholic University of Australia , examined past research data that analyzed the soil of 10 archaeological sites from the Mayan civilization classical period (around 250 to 950). Mercury pollution was confirmed at seven sites. One of the archaeological sites was found to have toxic levels of mercury that exceed modern standards, and it was also found that fairly serious pollution had occurred.

Since the Maya civilization and Europeans first came into contact with each other in the first half of the 16th century, all of the ruins studied in this study had declined by the 12th century, suggesting that mercury pollution was influenced by Western civilization. not. However, mercury is a metal that has been used all over the world for a long time, and among them, a mineral made of mercury sulfide (II) called ' cinnabar ' has been used in various civilizations including the Maya civilization as red (vermilion). has been used as a pigment for

by Orbital Joe

In fact, artifacts colored with mercury-containing paints and powders have been found at the ruins of the Mayan civilization. Professor Nicholas Dunning of the University of Cincinnati , co-author of the paper, pointed out that the bright red color of cinnabar was precious and sacred to the Maya civilization, who believed that 'blood' contained the power of the soul. However, people at that time did not know that mercury was deadly toxic, so it is believed that mercury leaked into the soil through gardens and floors.

Mercury can hardly be collected in the limestone-rich Maya region , but it is speculated that the Maya civilization obtained mercury mined from deposits at the edge of the Maya region through trade. Mercury has been mined in these deposits since the Olmec civilization , which flourished in BC, and the Maya civilization around 300 AD used mercury for coloring ornaments and burials.

It is not clear how much mercury pollution affected the Maya people, but chronic mercury poisoning causes damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver, leading to tremors and paralysis, blindness, deafness, and mental health problems. known to cause problems. Dark Sun, one of the last rulers of Tikal , the economic center of the classical Maya civilization, is depicted as obese in murals, but one of the symptoms caused by chronic mercury poisoning is obesity. ... apparently ...

Possibility that the city of the ancient Maya civilization was abandoned because the water was contaminated with poison - GIGAZINE

“Environmental mercury contamination is commonly found in modern urban and industrial areas,” Cook said. 'It's hard to explain without considering the archeology of the area, which shows that the Maya civilization used mercury for centuries.'

Also, co-author of the paper, Professor Tim Beach of the University of Texas at Austin , commented, ``Even the ancient Mayan civilization, which used little metal, greatly increased the concentration of mercury in the environment.'' Commented. It is sometimes pointed out that modern society is the era of the `` Anthropocene ' ' in which humans affect the geology and ecosystem of the earth, but the results of this research show that the `` Mayan Anthropocene '' existed. claimed to be proof.

in Science, Posted by log1h_ik