Raiders Of The Lost Altar, USA Today, Arthur Demarest

Arthur Demarest, VU

Mayan artifact wrested from nefarious looters [with the help of Arthur Demarest, Vanderbilt University ( VU )].

By Dan Vergano

USA TODAY

Move over, Indiana Jones. A real American archaeologist was instrumental in the recovery of a priceless Mayan altar that was looted from an excavation.

Now safe in Guatemala’s National Museum, the limestone altar, whose recovery was announced Wednesday, sheds light on the political life of the Mayan era. Carved in the year 796 to honor a treaty in the Mayan city of Cancuén, the altar depicts two kings playing a ritual ballgame.

The altar’s recent past sheds light on the extent of modern looting.

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What Doomed the Maya? Maybe Warfare Run Amok

Arthur excavating the famous tomb of the warrior king, Itzamanaaj K’awiil (aka Ruler 2). 1991. Deep within one of the temples of his capitol city, Dos Pilas.

 

Written By: JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Source: The New York Times

NASHVILLE— After hacking through tropical jungles in Central America and turning up stones of magnificent temples and tombs, archeologists over the years built up in their minds an idealized image of the Maya people who once flourished where now only wilderness thrives.

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