Sponge Homer

Homer H. Hillis, Jr. sponges all kinds of information, business, political and trends. I've been seen on the Sally Jesse Rafeal show with noted trend spotter Faith Popcorn. My Blog will give you an over view of what I'm seeing and reflections on the same.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

We never know what we'll find unless we keep digging!
I like that quote.

Tomb of royal Mayan found in Guatemala

SMU team discovered queen's site in same ruins two years ago

11:13 PM CDT on Monday, May 1, 2006

By BRENDAN CASE and JAMES M. O'NEILL / The Dallas Morning News

Building on a find by a Southern Methodist University specialist on Mayan ruins, a Guatemalan archaeologist has uncovered the remains of what could be an ancient Mayan king's tomb deep in the rain forest of Guatemala's largest national park.

Dr. Héctor Escobedo, co-director of the Waká Archaeological Project with SMU's Dr. David Freidel, has unearthed a royal tomb beneath the principal pyramid in the western center of Waká.

Waká was a Mayan city in Laguna del Tigre, the national park in northern Guatemala. The discovery was made by Dr. Escobedo, an archaeologist at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, and his student Juan Carlos Meléndez.

This marks the second royal tomb discovered at Waká. Two years ago, Dr. Freidel and his SMU students discovered a queen's tomb that was more than 1,200 years old and dated to the late classic period of Mayan civilization.

The new tomb was discovered in a different pyramid and dates to the early classic period between the second and fourth centuries A.D., according to SMU officials.

"We are trying to identify the remains, which appear to be in good condition despite the collapse of the tomb's roof," said Dr. Freidel in an e-mail exchange with the university. "This may be the resting place of either the dynasty founder, a man we do not have a history for, or K'inich B'alam the First, the Maya king who allied with Siyaj K'ak', conqueror of Tikal in A.D. 378."

The site, discovered by oil prospectors in the 1960s, contains 672 monumental structures and countless smaller houses. Harvard researcher Ian Graham recorded the site's monuments in the early 1970s, but the SMU project is the first to undertake scientific excavations.

The national park is under duress from vandals and cattle ranchers who burn the forest for grazing. The Guatemalan government has collaborated with Dr. Freidel and a team of 20 archaeologists, along with conservationists and residents, to protect the park. It is home to the endangered scarlet macaw.

Known as Waká in Mayan inscriptions but called El Perú today, the site was possibly a city of tens of thousands that sat on a crucial river route west of the famous Mayan site of Tikal. Over the course of 700 years, 22 kings ruled at Waká.

Lilián Garrido, director of Dr. Escobedo's lab in Guatemala City, told The Dallas Morning News in a phone interview Monday that the new tomb was discovered April 28. Though she didn't know details, she said they "suppose it was the tomb of someone important."

She said both Dr. Escobedo and Dr. Freidel will remain at the site for several weeks.

She can't yet say how this will help researchers understand Mayan history. "We can't be sure until we finish digging," Ms. Garrido said.

For more information, visit www.smu.edu/waka.


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