MANAGUA, March 6(Xinhuanet)-- Scientists working at an archaeological site in Honduras said Sunday that they have unearthed the remains of 69 people who lived in the sixth century as well as 30 previously undiscovered buildings and structures.
Reports monitored here said the scientists working at the Copan archaeological site in western Honduras believe the site was eventually abandoned due at least in part to overpopulation.
Copan, some 300 km west of the capital Tegucigalpa, flourished between A.D. 250 and 900, part of a vast Mayan empire which stretched across parts of modern-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala El Salvador and Honduras.
Seiichi Nakamura, one of a team of Japanese scientists working alongside their Honduran colleagues, said at a news conference that the human remains likely belonged to people who inhabited Copan around 550, during the rule of the 10th Mayan leader, JaguarMoon.
"We uncovered more than 450 pieces of pots and vessels and musical instruments made of jade, stone, shells and ceramics," Nakamura said.
Nakamura said the find also includes at least 30 structures. Offerings were also discovered in and around the sites where the bones were buried.
He said those artifacts found near the remains of a 12-year-oldchild were among the richest ever discovered in Copan, meaning theyoungster was likely an important member of Mayan society.
Scientists will soon begin working to restore the latest discovery and hope to open the area to tourists in 2007, Nakamura said.
Once a thriving commercial center, the ancient Maya are thoughtto have first settled in Copan around 1200 B.C.
Little is known about the kings who ruled the area, although scientists have deciphered some of their names.
Copan was declared a world heritage site in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.