Photo: Tomb of K'abel
The tomb of a powerful seventh-century Maya queen was discovered at the El Peru-Waka site in the northwestern Guatemalan province of Peten, archaeologists said Wednesday.
The co-director of the expedition, U.S. archaeologist David Freidel, called the tomb “the most important find” of his 43 years working in Guatemala.
K’abel was the wife of King K’inich Bahlam II, but her title, Kalomt’e, or Supreme Warrior, indicates she had greater authority than her spouse, Freidel said.
The couple ruled the Wak kingdom for at least 20 years in the late seventh century.
K’abel is depicted on a piece from El Peru-Waka, Stela 34, now on exhibit in the United States at Cleveland Art Museum.
The excavations that uncovered K’abel’s tomb were directed by Mexican-born U.S. scholar Olivia Navarro-Farr and Griselda Perez Robles, former director of prehistoric monuments with Guatemala’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
The tomb was detected on June 9 inside the structure known as M13-1, Navarro-Farr told Efe.
Work at the El Peru-Waka site, located inside the Maya Biosphere Reserve, began in 2003 and the current effort is sponsored by the Foundation for the Cultural and Natural Patrimony of Guatemala.
Archaeologist David Freidel discusses the discovery below: