Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Archaeologist Stumbles on 2,000-year-old Mayan Mural

Archaeologists have dug up the oldest known Mayan painting inside a ruined pyramid deep inside a Guatemalan jungle. Dated at around 100BC, the paint-on-plaster mural depicts the Mayas' creation myth with an elegance and finesse suggesting the civilization developed much earlier than previously accepted.

"It was like discovering the Sistine chapel if you didn't know there had been a Renaissance - like knowing only modern art and then stumbling on the finger of God touching the hand of Adam," William Saturno, the archaeologist who found the ancient masterpiece, told a press conference.

Mr Saturno, of the University of New Hampshire in the US, stumbled across the mural in the remote site of San Bartolo in 2001 while trekking through the jungle looking for another set of ruins. Exhausted, he says, he almost fell into a looters' tunnel in his search for shade and then looked up to find the figure of the great Corn God peaking out from the dirt on the wall above him.

I'm going to look around for more on this. It's the first I've seen on it and the source is unfamiliar to me.