Frieze Discovered Representing Heroes of the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Holy Book
By Dialogo March 09, 2009thanks for the article--it was both interesting and informative--one question concerning the hike from Tikal- how safe is the overland route? Guatemala, March 8 (EFE) - The mythological story of the lives of twins Hunapú and Ixbalanqué, characters in the story of the world's creation in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of ancient Maya culture, were engraved in stone 200 years before the start of the Christian era, the Guatemalan press reported today. A frieze showing the twins "swimming among celestial monsters" after recovering the head of their father Hun Hunapú, who was decapitated by the lords of Xibalba, rulers of the underworld, was presented on Saturday at the El Mirador archaeological site, which is located some 400 kilometers north of the capital. The finding, local media published today, was discovered by a group of archaeologists led by American Richard Hansen, and officially presented yesterday in El Mirador by the authorities. This discovery, Hansen told the newspaper Prensa Libre, "proves that Ixbalanqué and Hunapú existed 300 years before Christ, which confirms the originality of the divine creation in the Mayan civilization." The piece, which is about four meters long and three high and is built of limestone and stucco, represents the same image that appears in the original manuscript of the Popol Vuh, which was discovered in 1701 by Spanish friar Francisco Jimenez during the conquest and colonization of the regions inhabited by the Maya. "Some do not give credibility to the Popol Vuh because they say it has Christian influence, but this finding demonstrates that the Mayan culture had already formed that history," said the American archaeologist. The Popol Vuh narrates how they created the world according to the worldview of the Maya, and is now considered the sacred book of the indigenous descendants of that ancient culture. The piece, part of the preclassic period, was discovered by "accident," when archaeologists were in El Mirador working on the restoration of a system of canals that supplied water to the Mayan city. The frieze was found in the central part of a pool in which the rulers bathed and made sacrifices. According to experts, the El Mirador Basin, the first and largest of the Maya cities, was discovered in 1930, and is four times larger than the archaeological site of Tikal, the most famous Maya metropolis. It is located in the dense jungle of the department of Petén in northern Guatemala, and because there are no roads leading to the site, it must be reached by traveling on foot for two days.