‘Oldest Mayan king’s tomb’ discovery in Guatemala

This video says about itself:

CORRECTION: Alive during 500s to 600s. Incorrectly said “1600s” in 4th sentence. 10/11/12

Archeologists in Guatemala discovered a carved alabaster vessel with a protruding face that revealed the burial chamber to belong to Lady K’abel, a seventh-century Mayan queen.

There are only five Mayan tombs that are identifiable, and this is already considered one of them, said WUSTL archaeologist David Freidel, PhD.

The smoking gun was the carved alabaster vessel found in the burial chamber.

Lady K’abel was a Mayan Holy Snake Lord alive in the 600s and is considered one of the great queens of Classic Mayan civilization.

With a head that pokes out like a turtle’s, the carved white alabaster jar depicts an old woman.

Four glyphs are carved into the jar that effectively mark the grave as K’abel’s.

Other notable findings include an entrance of the tomb that’s marked by two large petroglyphs, carved stone slabs.

From the BBC:

26 October 2012

‘Oldest Mayan tomb’ found in Guatemala’s Retalhuleu

One of the oldest Mayan tombs ever found has been uncovered in western Guatemala, say archaeologists.

Located at a temple site in Retalhuleu province, the grave is thought to be that of an ancient ruler or religious leader who lived some 2,000 years ago.

Carbon-dating indicated the tomb had been built between 700 and 400 BC, said government archaeologist Miguel Orrego.

A rich array of jade jewels, including a necklace depicting a vulture-headed human figure, were found.

The scientists found no bones at the tomb in the Tak’alik Ab’aj site – some 180km (110 miles) south of Guatemala City – probably because they had disintegrated.

But the vulture-headed figure appears to identify the tomb’s occupant as an ajaw – or ruler – because the symbol represented power and economic status and was given to respected elder men.

Big chief

The scientists named the grave’s occupant K’utz Chman, which in the Mayan language, Mam, means Grandfather Vulture.

“He was a big chief”, said Mr Orrego. “He bridged the gap between the Olmec and Mayan cultures in central America.”

The leader may have been the first to introduce elements which later became characteristic of the Mayan culture, such as the building of pyramids and the carving of sculptures depicting the royal families, Reuters news agency cited historians as saying.

The Olmec empire began to fade at around 400 BC, while the Maya civilisation was starting to grow and develop, said Christa Schieber, another archaeologist working at the site.

The Mayas went on to rule much of Central America from 250 to 800 AD; their empire extended from modern-day Honduras to central Mexico.

5 thoughts on “‘Oldest Mayan king’s tomb’ discovery in Guatemala

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