Mapping the Maya

The deeds of royal dynasties presiding over Maya city-states in northern Guatemala can still be followed on ornate inscriptions raised in their name. But just how large were their dominions? Tom Garrison tells us how recent survey and follow-up fieldwork is revolutionising our knowledge of Maya state power.


Palace of the Maya Time Lords

Discovering two royal tombs at El Perú-Waka’ Excavations at the Maya city of Waka’ in Guatemala revealed a stone gallery buried within the palace acropolis. Inside its rooms were relics that told the extraordinary story of its construction, destruction, and reuse as a chamber for subterranean fire rituals. David Freidel, Griselda Pérez Robles, and Juan […]


NEWS: Clues of Maya Collapse

Archaeologists have developed a highly-refined chronology for the two major Maya collapses using the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single site. The circumstances behind the Preclassic (2nd century AD) and Classic Maya (9th century AD) collapses – two periods of widespread urban abandonment across Mesoamerica – have long been the subject […]


An archaeological smoking gun: the tomb of a Maya warrior queen

Archaeologists in Guatemala believe they may have uncovered the tomb of the 7th-century warrior queen K’abel, one of the great female rulers of Classic Maya civilisation. The burial was discovered during excavations by a team from Washington University in St Louis investigating the Maya city of El Perú-Waka, about 75km (47 miles) from Tikal. Interred […]

An archaeological smoking gun: the tomb of a Maya warrior queen

  Excavations in Guatemala may have uncovered the tomb of K’abel, a 7th century warrior queen and one of the great female rulers of Classic Maya civilisation, it was announced today (4 October). The burial was discovered by archaeologists from Washington University in St Louis during investigations at the Maya city of El Perú-Waka, about 75km from Tikal. […]

Temple of the Night Sun

Temple of the Night Sun

The mighty temple of a little known Maya Kingdom, and the undisturbed tomb of its first ruler.


Early Maya ‘Sistine Chapel’

When first discovered in 2001 by the archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, the mural-covered room at San Bartolo, a remote and ancient Maya city site in the Guatemalan rainforest, was described as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Maya’, because of the quality of the paintings. The publication of The Murals of San Bartolo, El […]


Book Review: The Road To Ruins

The most avidly acquired antiquities of the New World during the last 50 years have been Maya relics from Mexico and Central America. Countless sculptures and artefacts unearthed at archaeological sites have gone to the museums and private collections of richer countries. At first, the traffic was slight; but in the 1960s it rose to […]


Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

A Maya lord The ancient Maya continue to surprise us, this time with the discovery of a well-preserved tomb under the El Diablo pyramid at El Zotz in Guatemala. Stephen Houston and his research team encountered the grave under a chamber in a small temple in front of the pyramids dedicated to the sun god, […]