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Largest Mayan tomb discovered at Xunantunich

By Julia Arzu

Archaeologists came a step closer to unravelling the secrets of the ancient Mayas as one of the largest tomb to ever be discovered in Belize was found at the Xunantunich Maya site last Tuesday.

History was made as archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, excavated the first tomb to be discovered in Xunantunich. The tomb lies five to eight meters below the surface and contains more than mere dust and debris.

Within the tomb, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of an individual, whom they assume to be a ruler, because the tomb was constructed to show reverence to a Mayan leader.

The skeleton was easily identified as a male between the ages of 20 and 30 based on the size of the large femurs (leg bone), the appearance of the skull and his teeth. On the north-western side of the chamber, the remains of an animal was also discover.

Archaeologists speculate that it could have been the remains of a deer or a jaguar based on its long femurs. Ceramics, and jade stones were also found within the tomb.

“What’s amazing about the discovery of this tomb is that, we know that archaeologists have been working at Xunantunich since the 1890s. That’s more than a century of continuous archaeological work at the site. And, never before have we found a tomb. Well, this tomb is also remarkable in other ways, it is one of the largest burial chambers we have ever found,” Awe said. The tomb is five to eight meters deep.

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