Frieze Discovered Representing Heroes of the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Holy Book

By Dialogo
March 09, 2009

thanks 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.