A 1,200-Year-Old Murder Maya Mystery in GuatemalaBreaking News
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
- Rise of Donald Trump Tracks Growing Debate Over Global Fascism
- Tales of African-American History Found in DNA
- History Celebrates New Show Roots With Project to Digitize Post-Slavery Documents
- In 1453, this Ottoman sultan ended Christian rule in Constantinople. But was he a good Muslim?
- Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation among documents sold for $6.2m in New York
- History Relevance Campaign meets at the Smithsonian
- Bernard Lewis Turns 100
- David Lowenthal, author of "The Past Is a Foreign Country,” says it’s folly to scratch the names of slaveholders off buildings
- Jean Edward Smith, biographer of FDR and Ike, has a new biography coming out … of George W. Bush
- Flora Fraser, biographer of George and Martha Washington, wins $50,000 George Washington Prize