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A 110-mile (177-kilometer) network of raised stone trails, or causeways, that linked the communities reveals that the early civilization was home to an even more complex society than previously thought, according to a recent analysis on the architecture groupings, published in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica.
“They’re the world’s first superhighway system that we have,” said lead study author Richard Hansen, a professor of anthropology at Idaho State University. “What’s amazing about (the causeways) is that they unite all these cities together like a spiderweb … which forms one of the earliest and first state societies in the Western Hemisphere.”
The causeways, which rise above the seasonal swamps and dense forest flora of the Maya Lowlands, formed “a web of implied social, political, and economic interactions” with further implications regarding “strategies of governance” due to how difficult they would have been to build, according to the study