Tomb of Mayan queen found in Guatemala

5th Oct 2012

An alabaster jar discovered in a tomb in northern Guatemala is leading archaeologists to believe the burial chamber belongs to a Mayan queen considered to be the greatest ruler of her day.

US and Guatemalan experts under the direction of anthropologist David Freidel are working in El Peru-Waka, the royal Maya city, where they have found other items such as thousands of obsidian blades, ceramic vessels and carvings on a large stone that refer to the site as the burial chamber of Lady K'abel.

Guatemala's cultural ministry said in a statement that the stone jar discovered by the team depicted the head and arm of an older woman and glyphs that point to the queen's name.

As the military governor of the Waka kingdom, Lady K'abel had a higher rank than her husband, King K'inich Bahlam. Together they ruled for about 20 years in the 7th century, according to Freidel.

Freidel, who is from Washington University in St Louis, said the discoveries the team had made at the Mayan ruins were unforeseen.

Visitors to Guatemala can tour the country's major Mayan sites. The ancient and spectacular site of Tikal located 341 miles north of Guatemala City, was the home of an estimated 100,000 Maya. Its 3,000 structures--temples, ball courts, plazas and public buildings--are deep within the rainforest of Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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