A 1,600 year old tom of a Mayan king is the amazing discovery by a Brown University research team. The tomb was unearthed by a team led by Brown Professor Stephen Houston and is filled with ceramics, fabrics and bones of six children.
These may be the bones of children who were sacrificed when the king died.
According to a news release issued by on July 16 by Brown University, The team uncovered the tomb, which dates from about 350 to 400 A.D., beneath the El Diablo pyramid in the city of El Zotz in May.
A 2008 MacArthur fellow, is the Dupee Family Professor of Social Science and professor of anthropology at Brown.
“When we opened the tomb, I poked my head in and there was still, to my astonishment, a smell of putrification and a chill that went to my bones,” Houston said. “The chamber had been so well sealed, for over 1600 years, that no air and little water had entered.”
The tomb itself is about 6 feet high, 12 feet long, and four feet wide. “I can lie down comfortably in it,” Houston said, “although I wouldn’t want to stay there.”
The contents of the tomb include what’s thought to be an adult male, but Andrew Scherer, assistant professor of anthropology at Brown, has not yet confirmed this. It is also speculated that there are six children in the tomb, some with whole bodies and probably two solely with skulls.
Who was the king in the unearthed tomb?
The research team from Brown believes the tomb is likely from a king they only know about from other hieroglyphic texts. “These items are artistic riches, extraordinarily preserved from a key time in Maya history,” said Houston. “From the tomb’s position, time, richness, and repeated constructions atop the tomb, we believe this is very likely the founder of a dynasty.”
Who are the team members working on this magnificent discovery?
Professor Houston is co-director of the discovery site with Edwin Román. He is working with a group of Brown graduate students and researchers, including Thomas Garrison, a former postdoctoral fellow at the Joukowsky Institute and the Department of Anthropology, and graduate students Sarah Newman, Nick Carter, James Doyle, Alex Knodell, and Alex Smith. Scherer, the bone analyst, is working with graduate student Kate Blankenship and undergraduate Morgan Ritter-Armour on the laboratory portion of the analysis.
source: Brown University press release