Photo: Archaeologists in Guatemala Unearth Tomb of "Big Chief" K'utz Chman
Archaeologists working at the Tak’alik Ab’aj temple in southern Guatemala recently uncovered the tomb of an early Mayan ruler and provide new insight into the early years of the Mayan culture.
Though no bones were found during the excavation of the tomb of the “big chief” known as K’utz Chman (Grandfather Vulture), the artifacts unearthed revealed he was a mighty and powerful ruler.
Jewelry, which included a vulture-headed human figure on a necklace, are that of what may have been one of the earliest rulers of the Mayan culture as it transitioned from the Olmec period.
Carbon dating puts the tomb somewhere between 700 and 400BC.
David Stuart, an archaeologist from the University of Texas at Austin, told the Associated Press, ‘This is around the time that the institution of kingship was really taking off.’
‘He would be ruling over a fairly sizeable territory at the time. It wouldn’t have stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions, but he would have been ruling over lots and lots of small communities.’
Tak’alik Ab’aj temple is located in El Asintal in Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
Researchers Olivia Navarro of Mexico and Griselda Perez of Guatemala were credited with the initial find back in June. The temple site is believed to be the oldest tomb from the Mayan era in Mesoamerica.