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Engravings on Maya Altar May Record Political Strategy

Friday, September 14, 2018

La Corona altarGUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA—The AFP reports that engravings on a 1,500-year-old altar discovered in a temple at the site of La Corona in northern Guatemala names a previously unknown king of the city, and sheds light on the political maneuverings undertaken by the kings of the Kaanul dynasty, or Serpent Kingdom, whose capital was the city of Dzibanche. Marcello A. Canuto of Tulane University and Tomas Barrientos of the University of the Valley of Guatemala said the images on the one-ton limestone altar depict the seated ruler of La Corona, King Chak Took Ich’aak, and two of the city’s patron gods emerging from his double-headed serpent effigy. Dates with this image correspond to May 12, 544. King Chak Took Ich’aak is known to have ruled the nearby city of El Peru-Waka about 20 years later. “Having information about what happened next, how they were plotting a political strategy here, teaches us a lot about politics in those times and the fight for territory,” Barrientos said. The researchers suggest the rulers of the Serpent Kingdom built alliances with smaller cities surrounding their rivals at Tikal, eventually defeating them in A.D. 562, and reigning over the Maya lowlands for about 200 years. To read in-depth about archaeological investigation of a Maya settlement in Guatemala, go to “The City at the Beginning of the World.”

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