Pots and Bullets
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Archaeologists in Guatemala recently found a trove of artifacts at the site of the last Mayan city to resist Spanish conquest centuries ago, helping to better illuminate how this civilization once lived, Agence France-Presse reported.
The treasures include burial grounds, ceramics, and bullets from the Tayasal outpost where the Maya first settled in 900 BCE. The Maya civilization flourished between 250 and 900 AD in what is now southern Mexico and Guatemala, as well as in sections of present-day Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.
The findings are part of the excavation project that began last June to better understand the city’s history. Tayasal was the last Maya city to surrender to the Spanish during their conquest in 1697 CE, a century after conquistadors entered the western highlands of what is now Guatemala.
“More than 100 years passed in which the northern part of Guatemala was totally outside of Spanish rule, and this happened mainly because the jungle functioned as a natural border that made the arrival of the Spaniards to these places very difficult,” said Suarlin Cordova, the archaeologist in charge.
The Spanish made several failed attempts at conquest including one led by famed conquistador Hernán Cortés himself, who gave up.
Researchers said that most of the buildings at the site are buried under earth and vegetation inside a roughly 3-square-mile area. A nearly 100-foot-high acropolis that served as the residence of the governing elite is partially uncovered along with an ancient well.
Guatemalan officials noted that one of the main aims of the project is to enhance the site so that tourists may better “appreciate” the archaeological worth of the region.