Ancient Mayan tomb of ruler found

29th Oct 2012

The ornate final resting place of an ancient Mayan ruler has been found by archaeologists.

A richly decorated tomb with precious jade jewellery was discovered in Guatemala at the Takalik Abaj temple and historians believe it could be crucial in helping them piece together knowledge about early Mayan culture.

Carbon dating tests suggest the tomb could be up to 2,700 years old, which would date it several hundred years before the period considered the pinnacle of Mayan culture, Miguel Orrego, a government archaeologist said.

Before this latest find, the oldest tomb uncovered at Takalik Abaj had been 2,200 years-old.

Mr Orrego said they believed the person buried in the tomb was an ajaw - the name for a Mayan ruler - because of a necklace found there showing a man with the head of a vulture, indicating the occupant was very important. And jade items could give experts information about trade and production during the period.

But the actual skeleton was not discovered during last month's excavation as it is believed the bones have rotted away.

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