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Mayan Plumbing Found In Ancient City 220

Posted by kdawson
from the series-of-tubes dept.
DarkKnightRadick writes "An archaeologist and a hydrologist have published evidence that the ancient Mayans had pressurized plumbing as early as sometime between the year 100 (when the city of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico, was first founded) and 800 (when it was abandoned). While the Egyptians had plumbing way earlier (around 2500 BC), this is the first instance of plumbing in the New World prior to European exploration and conquest."
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Mayan Plumbing Found In Ancient City

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  • No big surprise,,, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:42PM (#32093270) Journal

    If the aliens gave pluming to the Egyptians, why not the Mayans?

  • Re:Better than ours? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Inner_Child (946194) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:53PM (#32093340)
    I thought we just called that "government".
  • by jamshid (140925) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#32093388)

    Okay, not really related to ancient Mayan plumbing, but that article did make me think about this great talk by neuroscientist and writer David Eagleman:
    http://www.longnow.org/seminars/02010/apr/01/six-easy-steps-avert-collapse-civilization/ [longnow.org]

  • Pretty Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tremegorn (1111055) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:16PM (#32093474)

    The guy who has the photo credit in the article (Kirk French) was my Archaeology TA during my freshman year. (I'm currently attending PSU for an EE degree). He's a really cool guy, glad to see he's doing well.

    That aside, this is actually a pretty big discovery; very few ancient civilizations actually managed complex engineering achievements like running water. If anything this just adds to the mystery, if they had engineering knowledge of similar level to the Romans, why did their civilization suddenly die out?

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:34PM (#32093568)

    If anything this just adds to the mystery, if they had engineering knowledge of similar level to the Romans, why did their civilization suddenly die out?

    Probably much like Roman civilization, the main power structure lost control. That seems to be recurring throughout all history and cultures.

    Obviously that's a huge simplification, but it no doubt contributed to the "collapse" of their civilization. I put "collapse" in parentheses, because Mayan civilization still exists to a certain degree.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:38PM (#32093596)

    Get them out before we have to endure more imcompetence. Is it any wonder the middle east is 3rd world? Those towelheads are to stipud to make a bumb even!

    Careful, there. I have posted all sorts of horrible depraved "nigger" jokes, "Jew" jokes, and the like, and not one thing happened. Then I posted a joke about Muslims and Mohammad and *bam*, suddenly my IP address was blocked from Slashdot for several days. Slashdot even has a nice little webpage telling you that you've been blocked. Apparently the PC crowd has a lot of rampant favoritism, especially when one particular group gets its panties in a wad and bitches up a storm about everything a hell of a lot more than the others. Isn't it funny how it's considered cool to bash Christians and Judaeo-Christian beliefs in the media and Christians are expected to be adult enough to accept it and deal with it, but you make one negative remark about Islam and it suddenly doesn't work that way? AND no one sees this as a hypocritical double standard that needs to go?

  • Re:pattern? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hhedeshian (1343143) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:50PM (#32093650)
    What'll be different, I think, is that a lot less information will be lost in the demise of a "modern" culture simply due to the global (that's the key word here) communications network and data archival abilities we now possess. If the US went into oblivion, the world wouldn't have to re-invent the Ford Model-T or "Freedom Fries"; That data will be quite difficult to get rid of due to geographic redundancy.

    Also, spoken langauges don't die off in short periods of time. Given the available compute power and potential advances in translation software, it should be relively easy to bring texts up to the new language. You won't need a giant rock and guys like Daniel Jackson spouting some Goa'uld nonsense.
  • Re:pattern? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c0y (169660) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:52PM (#32093664) Homepage

    Some people believe that toilets don't allow for complete elimination and are the source of a lot of colon cancer [toilet-rel...lments.com].

    For my part, I've realized that after a lot of years camping and having to squat over a hole I dig, that at some point my knees simply won't let me do that any more. I've come to believe that maybe people die younger in parts of the world that lack sit down toilets and remember this quote by Charles Bukowski:

    Sex is interesting, but it's not totally important. I mean it's not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.
    - Charles Bukowski

  • Re:Pretty Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:00PM (#32093718) Journal
    I've heard the theory suggested that engineering knowledge(and accompanying social and technical organization) is exactly what allows a civilization to suddenly die out.

    Technology(speaking in the broad sense, including things like complex social structures, bureaucracies, and so forth) is extremely powerful; but also makes it fairly easy to get locked-in to brittle trajectories where(even if alternatives are theoretically possible), your only real approach to any problem becomes "do whatever it is we already do; but more, and harder". This often goes poorly. Worse, you have usually managed to build a population that depends on your complex social structures, which makes for a fun die-off if they should come loose.

    When the Roman legions stopped being a net gain, through plunder and Romanization, and started to become a liability(since they couldn't expand the borders any further, and spent most of their time fighting civil wars to install one emperor after another), Roman civilization as a whole never really came up with an alternative. They pretty much just raised more, tried harder, passed a few more laws to try to preserve the status quo. Long-view, they were following a doomed path, proximately, though, they didn't really have a whole lot of options. Any emperor who adopted a "fewer legions" policy would find himself replaced with extreme prejudice by somebody willing to do the opposite.

    I don't know how the Mayans went down; but complexity quite possibly helped them along.
  • Re:Better than ours? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:18PM (#32093818)

    Whew. Good thing we're more civilized in North America.

    http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-12-5/48967.html [epochtimes.com]

  • Re:Pretty Neat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:25PM (#32093848) Homepage

    That aside, this is actually a pretty big discovery; very few ancient civilizations actually managed complex engineering achievements like running water.

    Actually, the more I hear about ancient civilizations, the more I believe that in at least some regards, they had knowledge that was lost to the West until sometime after the Renaissance. They didn't know everything, but they sure as shit knew a lot. Certainly a lot more than has been attributed to them during most of my lifetime.

    If anything this just adds to the mystery, if they had engineering knowledge of similar level to the Romans, why did their civilization suddenly die out?

    One could ask the same question of Western Society -- a tremendous amount of stuff which was apparently fairly well-known in antiquity didn't get found out again until the last several hundred years.

    How is is that "our" civilizations suddenly died out? There's probably a good 1000 years in which we managed to root around in the muck whereas before we had better ways of doing it. WTF happened there?

  • Re:Better than ours? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sayfawa (1099071) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:04AM (#32094060)
    I wouldn't say a lucky guess. You don't have to see something to infer it's existence. The spread of a disease, the way it's spread, and the ways to stop it from spreading could all have led them to the conclusion that the disease was caused by some air-bound, invisible (to them) agent. Those Romans and ancient Indians seemed like smart guys. Presumably, they could imagine that some things were too small to be seen. They did both come up with the idea of the atom [wikipedia.org], after all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:00AM (#32094392)

    but you make one negative remark about Islam and it suddenly doesn't work that way?

    Sure... They don't want their data centers to get bombed.

    Isn't that like saying that Muslims are a bunch of uncivilzied savages who immediately use violence as their first move when someone says something they don't like? Does this perception come from all of the terrorism that has happened in the last few years that involved a small minority of very extremist Muslims? If so then why don't people fear criticising Christians after the small minority of extremists who were in the IRA? You see that something here just doesn't add up.

  • Re:Pretty Neat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by esmrg (869061) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:41AM (#32095132)

    why did their civilization suddenly die out?

    Are you actually serious with that question???

    I believe the OP was making the common mistake of personifying the system instead of the people. That is common these days. However, the classic maya vanished before that, around 800 C.E. While the people didn't actually 'vanish', their way of life did. While it is possible that the maya became victims of their own overgrowth like the romans, subject to the law of diminishing returns, it seems more plausible they just abandoned it when it no longer served them. Perhaps the city was more a project or experiment than an exercise in domination and superiority like it was with the romans. The experiment served its purpose and then the people dispersed back into the jungle. It's unfortunate that most of what they learned and recorded during this time was destroyed by those invading peoples you mentioned.

  • Re:Better than ours? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:18AM (#32095312)

    to be fair he was shot, that was a pretty big piece of lead...

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