8,333 Ancient Mayan Archeological Artifacts In Yucatan Mexico Discovered During Train Construction Project

The discovery of 8,333 ancient Mayan archeological artifacts in Yucatan, Mexico was announced by Tren Maya on Wednesday, January 18th, 2021. Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History), working alongside Tren Maya, discovered the massive amount of relics during excavations being conducted for the building of the proposed approximately one and a half thousand kilometer intercity railway known as the Tren Maya project (or the Mayan Train project). Specifics about what’s been found have yet to be released.


The total count of more than 8,300 ancient Mayan relics is only from the first 4 sections and many more treasures are sure to be out there still waiting to be discovered. This is not the first load of artifacts recovered due to the Mayan Train project. Near the end of last December, news was released about 17,756 vestiges that had been recovered from sites that were facing being affected by Tren Maya and registered by the INAH.


“The construction of the Tren Maya presents us with a paradox, on one hand it seeks to ease access to archaeological sites on the peninsula, yet on the other it runs the risk of destroying archaeological remains which remain unknown”
– Evelina Magaña, archeologist


Unlike the ancient Mayan pyramid that was destroyed to be used for gravel in 2013, Tren Maya has already at least once changed its plans to ensure that the archeological sites it would have affected would be protected and not damaged. Most, if not all, building projects that impact historical and archeological sites arouse controversy. As an historian, I would hope all these artifacts would be saved and well documented, for they help us with comprehending what the people of the past did before we were ever here.


The train is currently estimated to open in 2023.

“The protection of these findings demonstrates how the Tren Maya strengthens our commitment with the indigenous population of Mexico’s south-east, and also serves to generate opportunities for archaeological research.”
– México’s Federal Commission for Tourism



[1] – Tren Maya on Twitter. https://twitter.com/TrenMayaMX/status/1351193334778359812. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

[2] – Carlos Rosado van der Gracht. “Tren Maya leads to amazing discovery of over 8000 archaeological remains in Yucatán” (21 Jan. 2021). https://yucatanmagazine.com/tren-maya-leads-to-amazing-discovery-of-over-8000-archaeological-remains-in-yucatan/. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

[3] – https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2020/12/as-the-tren-maya-advances-thousands-of-new-archaeological-vestiges-are-discovered/. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

[4] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tren_Maya. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.


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