Image Source: Science Alert
Two untouched tombs have been uncovered beneath Mayan pyramids in Guatemala. Archaeologists have said the secret tombs, which date back to 650-700AD, had a lucky escape from being looted by tomb raiders.
Archaeologists believe the tombs, which have been dated to the same period of the disappearance of the Mayan Empire, can reveal a lot about the mystery behind the sudden collapse of the empire. The tombs appear to shed light on an ancient civil war between a local ‘snake family’ and a nearby rival kingdom.
Image Source: National Geographic
A new form of lazer technology has allowed archaeologists to fire lazers, deep into the Earth’s surface in order to reveal hidden structures that have never been seen before. This new technology is set to unearth further Mayan mysteries and finally solve the riddle of how such an advanced civilization suddenly ceased to exist.
Francisco Estrada-Belli from Boston University told The Guardian that archaeologists are only at the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding Mayan civilization. “We’re going to have to rewrite all the books of Maya history and the complexity of Maya civilisation, culture. Right now, we have 1 percent, in spite of 100 years’ research.”
And what of the discoveries? At present, researchers have uncovered two of the new tombs, one of which was constructed under a pyramid and contains the remains of a figure who belonged to the ruling elite. This is suggested by the state of the deceased’s teeth, which contains jade, iron pyrites, hematite, turquoise, quartz, serpentine, and cinnabar inlays.
Image Source: ArtNet
The second tomb, which also contains the remains of a person, was also found under a pyramid and is decorated with an array of vessels and jade ornaments, including a jade necklace. The jade necklace is the most interesting find, which appears to have once belonged to royalty from another kingdom.
The jade necklace has an inscription which state that it belonged to a “snake king”, a member of a Mayan ruling family that ruled the empire just before its mysterious collapse. The necklace also gives reason for archaeologists to believe that two kings, possibly brothers, had either been ruling the vast empire together, or vying for the throne.
With further artefacts waiting to be unearthed, scientists should be better able to piece together similar finds in a bit of finally answer the secrets of the mysterious Maya Kingdom.
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