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Newly Discovered Giant Mayan Carvings Tell A Story Of “Almost Cosmic Wars”
August 9, 2013
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Archeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below the giant stucco sculptural frieze recently discovered in Guatemala (Photo: AP/Proyecto Arqueologico Holmul)

This is quite a find: in July, a team of archeologists uncovered a huge ancient Mayan sculptural frieze in the buried foundations of a pyramid in Guatemala.

The frieze measures eight metres by two metres, and depicts human figures in a mythological setting, National Geographic writes, which may suggest the images are of "deified rulers."

According to Christian Science Monitor, the sculpture "tells a tale of almost cosmic wars," with imagery including "a king of cosmic proportions seated atop the head of a mountain god" and crouching figures at the sides holding up offerings.

giant-mayan-sculpture-side.jpgThe archeologists who uncovered the sculpture believe it may offer new evidence about how Mayan kings were crowned, as well as insight into the rivalry between two powerful Mayan kingdoms, Tikal and Kaanul.

It's also one of the best-preserved examples of this kind of statue, according to head archeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli.

"It's 95 per cent preserved. There's only one corner that's not preserved because it's too close to the surface, but the rest of it isn't missing any parts," Estrada-Belli told National Geographic.

In fact, it's in such good condition that there are still traces of red, blue, green and yellow paint visible in places.

The find happened while the team was excavating a tunnel left open by looters, who had stopped short of the area where the frieze was located.

At the moment, the frieze remains where it was found, and it's been temporarily re-buried because the archeological team is concerned about humidity and climate.

But it may not stay buried for good: they hope to "create a stable environment around it so people can eventually visit it," Estrada-Belli said.

Via National Geographic


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