Farmers in Guatemala discover Mayan murals

17th Oct 2012

Ancient Mayan murals have been discovered in the colonial-era homes of residents in Chajul, Guatemala, an Ixil Mayan town about 350km from Guatemala City. The residents found the murals beneath layers of plaster.

The farmers' Mayan ancestors painted the murals about 300 years ago. Researchers think similar murals are hiding in up to eight more colonial homes in the town, Reuters reported.

"We try to keep the kids away from it and keep people from touching it," said Lucas Asicona, 38. The farmer found the Mayan murals by accident when his family home was being renovated.

Mr Asicona said the government had not yet contacted the discoverers of the murals about how to protect the cultural treasure, even though people from as far away as Europe are expressing an interest in seeing the artefacts. Chajul is located in a mountainous area that is not easy to reach. The farmers who have found murals are doing "whatever possible" to protect their ancestors' art.

Mr Asicona said: "We keep the house up as best we can. We have contacted the government about the paintings, but (all we get are) promises and no action."

Historians who have seen the murals on the walls of the farmers' homes say they are genuine Mayan artefacts that tell the story of events from Mayan history.

"We consider these murals to be very unique. It is tangible heritage that represent real scenes from history," said Ivonne Putzeys, a Guatemalan anthropologist.

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