Bowls of Ancient fingers and teeth lead to rare Mayan tomb
May 29, 2010 GUATEMALA CITY - Archeologists in Guatemala have discovered a Mayan king's tomb packed with a well-preserved hoard of carvings, ceramics and children's bones. (Reuter) The discovery was not announced until recently July 15, during a press conference in Guatemala City, hosted by The Ministry of Culture and Sports who authorized the project.
Dating from about 350 to 400 A.D. the tomb lay hidden beneath the El Diablo pyramid in the city of El Zotz. The tomb measured about 12 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 6 feet high.
The temple had been built facing a structure containing images of the Mayan sun god.
As the team worked their way under the temple, a series of small bowls containing human fingers and teeth were found. It is thought to represent ritual sacrifice to the tombs resident...whom at this stage believed belonged to an adult male.
Science Daily reports, The archaeologists, led by Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology at Brown University in Providence, R.I., were investigating the site of a small temple "When we sunk a pit into the small chamber of the temple, we hit almost immediately a series of 'caches' blood-red bowls containing human fingers and teeth, all wrapped in some kind of organic substance that left an impression in the plaster.
We then dug through layer after layer of flat stones, alternating with mud, which probably is what kept the tomb so intact and airtight."
Eventually the scientists dug through final layer to reveal a small hole.
They lowered a bare light bulb into the hole, and suddenly Houston saw "an explosion of color in all directions — reds, greens, yellows." It was filled with pieces of wood, textiles, and thin layers of painted stucco.
"When we opened the tomb, I poked my head in and there was still, to my astonishment, a smell of putrification and a chill that went to my bones," Houston said. "The chamber had been so well sealed, for over 1,600 years, that no air and little water had entered."
No air and no water means no thieves! The fact this tomb is unlooted makes it an even more exquisite discovery. Specific artifacts on this adult male and the quantities suggests royalty. National Geographic Daily writes,
"The team found bell-like ornaments made of shells and "clappers" made of dog teeth, which were likely placed around the king's waist and legs, Houston said.
The same accessories are seen on performers in a ritual dance depicted in Maya art, suggesting that the king may have been "cast" as a dancer in the ceremony leading to his interment—despite the arthritic joints that give away his apparently advanced age.
His teeth embedded with jewels, the buried king, Houston suspects, was the founder of a dynasty at El Zotz, in what's now the Petén region (satellite map) of Guatemala. "
Aside from the plethora of artifacts in the tomb, the team discovered what appear to be four complete skeletons and two skulls - which appear to be children aged between one and five years old. Forensic work is ongoing, but at this point their presence is unexplained. It is likely another sacrifice for the important individual.
"We still have a great deal of work to do," Houston said. "Remember, we've only been out of the field for a few weeks and we're still catching our breath after a very difficult, technical excavation. Royal tombs are hugely dense with information and require years of study to understand. No other deposits come close."
What an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING discovery for this time of year! Tomorrow is the 365th day of the year of Mayan 13 Moon Calendar. This harmonic timing standard measures the year in thirteen even months of 28 days each, a perpetual calendar of 52 perfect weeks, making a total of 364 days. July 25 will be the Gregorian calendar date Day Out of Time, celebrated annually since 1992. This day celebrates life through art and culture - hence, Peace through Culture festivals worldwide. This is a day of reverence and respect for all life, and community exchange and education relative to the concept of natural time.
Relax, Reflect and above all... enjoy yourselves during this Cosmic weekend!