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Oct 5, 2012 1:00 PM by Associated Press

Mexico: Mayan ball court was celestial 'marker'

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Experts in Mexico say they have determined that the ancient Mayas used watchtower-style structures at the temple complex of Chichen Itza to observe the equinoxes and solstices.

The bases of the structures were found atop the walls of the long ceremonial court, where a ritual ball game was played.

But to determine their use, archaeologists first had to rebuild the small, stone-roofed structures.

Each of the structures has a narrow slit running through it.

Government archaeologist Jose Huchim says he has found that the sun's rays shine into the slits at the winter solstice, and at another angle on the equinoxes.

Huchim said Thursday that stairways to the structures are being restored so visitors can observe the phenomenon.

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