A 1,200-Year-Old Murder Maya Mystery in Guatemala
In explorations during the summer, they found as many as 50 skeletons in a sacred pool and other places, victims of murder and dismemberment in a war that destroyed the city and, it seems, served as a beginning of the collapse of the classic period of the Maya civilization. The precipitous decline of the Maya is one of the enduring mysteries of American archaeology.
As the scale of the massacre became apparent, the archaeologists called on Guatemalan forensic investigators for their experience with mass burials of modern war. The team, established in 1996 to excavate the mass graves from Guatemala's civil war, has also analyzed sites in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda.
Arthur A. Demarest, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University who directed the excavations, described the discovery yesterday in an announcement by the National Geographic Society and in an interview by telephone from Guatemala City.
"This is probably the most important thing I've ever discovered," said Dr. Demarest, who has explored Maya ruins since the 1980's.
In a gruesome departure from what had been normal Maya warfare, he said, the conquerors - not yet identified - did not spare the city to rule it as a vassal state.
comments powered by Disqus
- Decades After Trinity Nuclear Test in New Mexico, U.S. Studies Cancer Fallout
- Lawrence Of Arabia's Hand-Drawn, WWI Map Is Up for Auction
- Thousands Of FBI Documents About Civil Rights Era Destroyed By Flooding
- Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered
- Europeans drawn from three ancient 'tribes'
- Conservatives press the case against the new AP framework for US history
- Who wrote the new AP US History framework? Now we know.
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead