Big Maya archaeological discovery in Guatemala


This 2011 video is about earlier archaeological discoveries in Holmul, Guatemala.

From National Geographic:

Giant Maya Frieze Found in Guatemala

Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below an ancient stucco frieze recently unearthed in the buried Maya city of Holmul in the Peten region of Guatemala. Sunlight from a tunnel entrance highlights the carved legs of a ruler sitting atop the head of a Maya mountain spirit.

The enormous frieze—which measures 26 feet by nearly 7 feet (8 meters by 2 meters)—depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. It was discovered in July in the buried foundations of a rectangular pyramid in Holmul.

Maya archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli and his team were excavating a tunnel left open by looters when they happened upon the frieze. “The looters had come close to it, but they hadn’t seen it,” Estrada-Belli said.

According to Estrada-Belli, the frieze is one of the best preserved examples of its kind. “It’s 95 percent preserved. There’s only one corner that’s not well preserved because it’s too close to the surface, but the rest of it isn’t missing any parts,” said Estrada-Belli, who is affiliated with Tulane University, Boston University, and the American Museum of Natural History and who is also a National Geographic Explorer. …

Caught Between Two Great Powers

The section of the temple at Holmul where the frieze was found dates back to about 590 A.D., which corresponds to the Maya classical era, a period defined by the power struggles between two major Maya dynasties: Tikal and Kaanul.

The two kingdoms competed with one another for resources and for control of other, smaller Maya city-states. Until now, however, it had been unclear which dynasty Holmul owed its allegiance to, but an inscription on the newly discovered frieze reveals that the temple was commissioned by Ajwosaj, ruler of a neighboring city-state called Naranjo, which archaeologists know from other discoveries was a vassal city of the Kaanul kingdom.

“We now know that Holmul was under the influence of the Kaanul dynasty,” Canuto said.

In 2012, Canuto’s team found and deciphered a series of hieroglyphically inscribed panels at another Maya city of a similar size to Holmul, called La Corona, which was also under the patronage of the Kaanul kingdom.

Guatemalan murderous ex-dictator on trial


This video is called Inside Story Americas: Guatemala: Struggling for justice.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Witness gives account of 1982 village massacre

Thursday 21 March 2013

The first witness in the trial of Guatemala’s former US-backed dictator General Efrain Rios Montt testified on Tuesday that soldiers razed his village in 1982.

Nicolas Brito, the first of at least 150 witnesses to give testimony in the trial of Gen Rios Montt, said that troops killed dozens in the attack.

Mr Brito, an indigenous Ixil who survived the army’s attack on the village of Canaque, said he escaped and watched as soldiers attacked.

“A lot of women died because they were preparing the dough for tortillas and couldn’t run,” he added.

“The soldiers tore their victims’ hearts out and put them on a little table.”

In a 1982 coup Gen Rios Montt took power and held it for just over a year.

Prosecutors say during that time he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas.

Maya and fake apocalypse


This video says about itself:

2012, NASA and the Mayan Calendar

Answers to some questions about 2012 from NASA’s Ask an Astrobiologist, Dr. David Morrison, and information about ancient Mayan calendars and their base 20 numerical system.

From Scientific American:

December 23, 2012

Maya Civilization Provides A Real Apocalyptic Lesson

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was climate change, which brought prolonged drought. David Biello reports.

You survived the Mayan apocalypse, or at least transitioned to the next baktun, number 14 according to the Mayan calendar. But what real lessons does this ancient culture hold?

First and foremost, the Maya are a case study in adaptation. Their complex civilization of powerful city-states collapsed, and the jungle retook those urban centers. But the Mayan people endured, today being the principle ethnic population of parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

European invaders did not end the era of the Mayan city-state. Although it was descendants of those Europeans who came up with this apocalypse mumbo-jumbo.

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was something more insidious: climate change. A subtle shift in weather patterns brought less rain and the Mayan civilization was simply unable to cope with a prolonged dry period punctuated by several severe droughts.

Given that our highly complex civilization is also facing climate change, it might make sense to look back to the Maya for a glimpse of our future. Today much of the former Mayan city-states are nature preserves, dotted by ruins. Will we do better when faced with crippling and long-lasting drought in this, the 14th baktun?

Maya queen’s tomb discovery


This video is called Tomb of Maya queen K’abel discovered in Guatemala.

From Science, Space & Robots:

Tomb of Lady K’abel, Maya Queen and Holy Snake Lord, Discovered in Guatemala

The tomb of Lady K’abel, a late 7th century Maya Holy Snake Lord and queen has been discovered in Guatemala. Archaeologists used the carved alabaster vessel … to help conclude the tomb they found belonged to K’abel. The vessel was found inside the burial chamber. Archaeologists say K’abel is considered one of the great queens of Classic Maya civilization.

The scientists say in a release that a “depiction of the woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, and four glyphs carved into the jar” are evidence the tomb is K’abel’s. Other vessels in the tomb and carvings on the outside of the tomb also lead researchers to believe the tomb belonged to the ancient queen.

David Freidel, Washington University in St. Louis archaeologist and co-director of the expedition, says, “The Classic Maya civilization is the only ‘classical’ archaeological field in the New World – in the sense that like archaeology in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia or China, there is both an archaeological material record and an historical record based on texts and images.”

Freidel explains the findings in this video and why they are confident the tomb belongs to K’abel. He says, “It’s as close to a smoking gun in archaeology as you can get.” Freidel says K’abel was both a queen and a supreme warlord.

See also here. And here. And here. And here.

Guatemalan Mayan temple discovery


This video is called A mask-nificent discovery (Mayan masks from El Zotz, Guatemala).

From COSMOS magazine:

Ancient Mayan ‘night sun’ temple found in Guatemala

Friday, 20 July 2012

Agençe France-Presse

GUATEMALA CITY: Archaeologists have uncovered a 1,600-year-old Mayan temple dedicated to the ‘night sun’ atop a pyramid tomb in the northern Guatemalan forest near the border with Mexico.

“The Sun was a key element of Maya rulership,” said lead archeologist Stephen Houston in announcing the discovery by the joint Guatemalan and American team that has been excavating the El Zotz site since 2006.

“It’s something that rises every day and penetrates into all nooks and crannies, just as royal power presumably would,” said Houston, a professor at Brown University, Rhode Island.

Carbon dating places construction at 350-400AD

“This building is one that celebrates this close linkage between the king and this most powerful and dominant of celestial presences.”

Archaeologists say the temple was likely built to honour the leader buried under the Diablo Pyramid tomb, the governor and founder of the first El Zotz dynasty called Pa’Chan, or ‘fortified sky’.

Mayan civilisation, which spread through southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize, was at its height between 250 and 900 AD.

Carbon dating places construction of the temple at the early part of that era, somewhere between 350 and 400 AD, the archeologists said.

More than half of the temple still to be excavated

It is ornately decorated with massive stucco masks, 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, each depicting the phases of the Sun as it moves east to west, and a painted stucco frieze that the team described as “incredible”.

More than half the temple is still to be excavated, co-project leader Thomas Garrison of the University of Southern California told a press conference at Guatemala City’s National Palace of Culture.

“The temple probably had 14 masks at the height of the frieze, but only eight of them have been documented” so far, which is why excavations must continue, added University of Austin archeologist Edwin Roman.

Excavations by the Guatemalan and American team began at the El Zotz dig in 2006, but the temple wasn’t uncovered until three years ago.

See also here.

What Was Behind Mysterious Collapse of the Mayan Empire? Here.

Mayas did not believe in 2012 doomsday


This video is called Mayan Calendar 2012 Doomsday Scenarios Debunked By NASA Scientist.

From National Geographic:

Unprecedented Maya Mural Found, Contradicts 2012 “Doomsday” Myth

Under the Guatemalan jungle, 1,200-year-old paintings like no others.

Erik Vance in Xultún, Guatemala

for National Geographic News

Published May 10, 2012

In the last known largely unexcavated Maya megacity, archaeologists have uncovered the only known mural adorning an ancient Maya house, a new study says—and it’s not just any mural.

In addition to a still vibrant scene of a king and his retinue, the walls are rife with calculations that helped ancient scribes track vast amounts of time. Contrary to the idea the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012, the markings suggests dates thousands of years beyond that.

Perhaps most important, the otherwise humble chamber offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Maya society. (Video: Mysterious Maya Calendar & Mural Uncovered.)

“The paintings we have here—we’ve never found them anyplace else,” excavation leader William Saturno told National Geographic News.

And in today’s Xultún—to the untrained eye, just 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) of jungle floor—it’s a wonder Saturno’s team found the artwork at all.

See also here. And here. And here.