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Still Waters

Ancient Maya built sophisticated water filter

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Still Waters

UC researchers discovered evidence of a filter system at the Corriental reservoir, an important source of drinking water for the ancient Maya in what is now northern Guatemala.

A multidisciplinary team of UC anthropologists, geographers and biologists identified crystalline quartz and zeolite imported miles from the city. The quartz found in the coarse sand along with zeolite, a crystalline compound consisting of silicon and aluminum, create a natural molecular sieve. Both minerals are used in modern water filtration.

The filters would have removed harmful microbes, nitrogen-rich compounds, heavy metals such as mercury and other toxins from the water, said Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, associate professor of anthropology and lead author of the study.

"What's interesting is this system would still be effective today and the Maya discovered it more than 2,000 years ago," Tankersley said.

https://phys.org/news/2020-10-ancient-maya-built-sophisticated-filters.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-75023-7

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