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Oldest ‘Basketball’ Court Is Found in Mexico Dating to 1400 B.C.

The oldest “basketball” court in North America has been discovered in Chiapas, Mexico. The Maya ball court dates from 1400 B.C., at least five centuries older than any previously discovered court, a team from the University of British Columbia reports in today’s Nature.

The game, which had religious significance, involved tossing a rubber ball up and down a long, alley-shaped court and attempting to get it through a hoop mounted on one of its walls. Losers were sometimes put to death. The court design remained unchanged until the Maya were conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II


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