Mayan "Night Sun" Temple Found in Guatemala
Mayan temple located in the deep of the northern Guatemalan forest
Photo by Don Schumann
Archeologists have uncovered a 1,600-year-old Mayan temple dedicated to the "night sun" atop a pyramid tomb in the northern Guatemalan forest near the border with Mexico
Carbon dating places construction of the temple at the early part of that era, somewhere between 350 and 400 AD, the archeologists said.
It is ornately decorated with massive stucco masks, 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, each depicting the phases of the sun as it moves east to west, and a painted stucco frieze that the team described as "incredible."
More than half the temple is still to be excavated, co-project leader Thomas Garrison of the University of Southern California told a press conference Wednesday at Guatemala City's National Palace of Culture.
"The temple probably had 14 masks at the height of the frieze, but only eight of them have been documented" so far, which is why excavations must continue, added University of Austin archeologist Edwin Roman.
Excavations by the Guatemalan and American team began at the El Zotz dig in 2006, but the temple wasn't uncovered until three years ago."